Hispanic Studies

Capstone and Honors

Capstone Projects

Students who major in Hispanic studies will do a capstone project based on a 400-level seminar taken in the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year.

In the spring of their senior year (the last semester for summer graduates, the penultimate semester for December graduates), students will enroll in a 2-credit/half-course Hispanic Studies Capstone course, HISP 501. As part of this course, students will expand the term paper of their 400-level seminar into a 15-20 page research paper (written in Spanish) and prepare a 15-minute oral presentation based on the paper, to be given at the end of the semester.

In consultation with their Hispanic studies advisor, students may request permission to base their capstone work on a course taught outside of the Hispanic studies department.

An Honors project in Hispanic studies automatically fulfills the capstone requirement.

These guidelines apply to students who declared a Hispanic studies major in fall 2015 or later. Students who declared a Hispanic studies major prior to that date will enroll in HISP 500 concurrent with the 400-level seminar they select for their capstone course.

An Honors project in Hispanic studies automatically fulfills the capstone requirement.

Students who double major in Hispanic studies and related fields (such as Latin American studies, Comparative Literature, Comparative American studies, Cinema studies, etc.), or doing an honors project in a related field, are encouraged to propose a single capstone project that pulls both majors together.

Combined projects may count as the Hispanic studies capstone only if:
(1) a Hispanic studies faculty member is involved as a capstone mentor;
(2) a significant portion of the project is conducted in Spanish; and
(3) the project includes a minimal level of cultural analysis and theoretical reflection on the cultures of the wider Spanish-speaking world (Latin America, Spain, U.S. Latinx culture).

All capstone projects include an oral presentation in Spanish.


The Honors Program in Hispanic studies is a two-semester sequence of six hours of independent study, in consultation with a faculty sponsor, culminating in either an honors thesis or a special project, such as a translation, creative writing, or video project. Students may be invited to participate in the program, but are also encouraged to express their interest to the faculty.

The Honors Program provides the opportunity to work in a sustained and in-depth manner on an independent project of interest to the student. Honors projects should address topics related to the languages, literatures, or cultures of the wider Spanish-speaking world, and are written in Spanish.

To be considered for admission into the department’s Honors Program, a candidate must normally have a 3.25 overall GPA and a 3.5 GPA in courses taken for the major at Oberlin.

We strongly encourage every potential candidate to complete the basic course work for the major before undertaking an honors project.

  1. Normally a formal application is submitted to the department for approval by April 15 of the candidate’s junior year. In exceptional cases those students absent from campus during that time may present a proposal at a later date but in no case later than the first week of classes of the senior year.
  2. The application should include a proposal for the project to be undertaken as well as the candidate’s interest and qualifications to carry out and complete the project. The proposal must also come with the approval of the faculty member who will serve as project director.
  3. By September 15, the candidate is required to submit an annotated bibliography assembled in consultation with the thesis advisor. By December 1 the candidate is required to submit to the department a well-developed prospectus and bibliography. At this time, the candidate will meet with the reading committee for the project who shall recommend continuing or abandoning the project.
  4. It is expected that a first draft (or equivalent, for technology projects) will be completed by the end of the January winter term. By spring break of the second semester the project should be nearing completion. A copy of the completed project should be submitted to each member of the reading committee for consideration by April 15. A date for the oral defense is set in relation to the deadline for the department's recommendation sent to the College Committee on Honors at Graduation. Customarily this date falls in the first week of May.
  5. One week before the scheduled presentation, the candidate will submit to each member of the Hispanic studies faculty an outline of the Honors Project and the complete bibliography.
  6. Should the candidate’s progress be deemed unsatisfactory as a result of the oral presentation, the honors credit may be turned into a private reading credit.
  7. By a designated date in late April of the senior year, the candidate will submit two clean, bound copies of the Honors Thesis to the primary readers and two clean, collated photocopies for the rest of the faculty for evaluation.
  8. The Senior Oral Examination is not to exceed 60 minutes and will focus on the content of the Honors Thesis. The time designated for the oral defense will be divided according to the following schedule for purposes of questioning the Honors candidate: First reader: 20 minutes; second reader: 10 minutes; other faculty: 30 minutes.
  9. After the defense, the candidate will supply two clean, revised bound copies of the honors thesis for archiving, one for the library and one for the department.
  10. The degree of honors to be awarded at graduation (Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors) will be determined by the Hispanic studies faculty.