Senior Thesis

What is a Senior Thesis?


The Spanish Program offers the opportunity for motivated students to enhance their undergraduate education by pursuing a senior thesis project. 

A senior thesis is a major research project resulting in an essay ranging from approximately 30 to 80 pages with at least 10 different bibliographic sources. It draws together what you have learned in your Spanish courses overall and in the courses you took that relate to your research project. The senior thesis has to be written in Spanish. 

Thesis Eligibility


By the time students begin working on the project and sign up for credits, students must:

  • Be in junior or senior standing (135 cumulative units or above)
  • Be a declared Spanish major
  • Achieve a certain major or overall GPA by the time students begin working on the project (see below)
  • Find a faculty member you would like to work with.

Thesis Course Credit & GPA Requirements 

Normally, a student will undertake the thesis project during the first two quarters of their senior year; other arrangements must be authorized by the thesis advisor. During the Spring quarter of the junior year, students interested in pursuing an honors thesis must contact the faculty member with whom they would like to work with. 

During the two quarters of the thesis project, students will:

  • Enroll in at least six units of SPA 194H or SPA 199 distributed over two quarters.
  • Write a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty member, with whom the student will meet regularly.

SPA 194H or SPA 199?

As stated above, students must have a certain minimum GPA to pursue a senior thesis project. This GPA requirement also determines which of the two variable-unit courses (SPA 194H or 199) students must sign up for when they register for credits. Thesis students typically enroll for 3-4 credits over two quarters (6-8 credits in total):

  1. Major GPA: 3.5 or above
  2. Overall GPA: TBD; Ask major Advisor 

Students who meet criteria 1 and 2 will sign up for SPA 194H: Special Study for Honors Students.

If students only meet one of these criteria, they will sign up for SPA 199: Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates instead. 

What does the timeline typically look like? 


There are two routes students can take: 

Fall (Find faculty advisor)--> Winter (Plan and Research)--> Spring (Write and Complete Thesis) 

Find the faculty advisor you would like to work with and plan the abstract, research, and writing timeline during Fall Quarter. Research and any other planning would unfold during Winter Quarter. Then Spring Quarter, the student will continue writing and complete the thesis, which will then be approved by the faculty advisor.


Spring (Find faculty advisor)--> Fall (Plan and Research)--> Winter (Write and Complete Thesis)

During the Spring Quarter before Fall, the student will find the faculty advisor they want to work with and plan the abstract, research, and writing timeline. During the Summer, the student can choose to begin their research and continue this timeline throughout the Fall Quarter. Finally, Winter Quarter will consist of writing the thesis, to ultimately submit it and wait for approval from the faculty advisor. 

 Senior Thesis Preface Example: 


 The Voseo Phenomenon: An Analysis of the History, Structural Patterns, and Pragmatic Uses and Perceptions of Voseo in the Spanish-speaking World

"As a student of Spanish as a second language since my early teens, I have observed that many crucial components of the language are unfortunately subject to omission in the classroom. One such item that has always captured my attention, especially due to its scarcity in my instructional experiences, is the pronoun vos. Even in my university Spanish studies, it has remained a faint silhouette hovering in the background, only to occasionally surface in the rare spoken dialogue or obscure text. However, despite its lack of attention in Spanish pedagogy, it commands a significant role throughout much of Latin America and merits further discussion where it is so greatly lacking. As such, it is my hope that the present work will serve as a concisely packaged overview of this phenomenon known as voseo in Latin American Spanish. The facts and information included herein seek to serve both academics in the field of Spanish linguistics, sociolinguistics, and Hispanic culture, as well as learners of Spanish as a second language." 

Ramsey, I. (2019). The Voseo Phenomenon: An Analysis of the History, Structural Patterns, and Pragmatic Uses and Perceptions of Voseo in the Spanish-speaking World [Undergraduate honors thesis]. University of California Davis

Senior Thesis Research Resources and Funding


Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science (MURALS) 


Contact Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science (MURALS)

Phone: 530-752-4475
Reception office: 117 South Hall
Hours: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.



Where can I find the information and texts I need to research my thesis?

As a UC Davis student, you have access to several different sites (for free!) that can help you with your thesis either as primary documents, secondary documents, and even tertiary documents. The UC Davis library have staff that can help guide you in finding the sources you need to successfully write your Thesis. In fact, there are guides that library staff have put up to help begin the process.