Italian Awards & Honors


The goal of the Italian Studies Honors Program is to provide academically talented and highly motivated undergraduates with the opportunity to engage in research with premier research faculty and to develop mentoring relationships focused on research.

Italian Honors Thesis Proposal Application & Guidelines 

Why participate in the Honors Program?

Participating in Honors-directed undergraduate research contributes to the intellectual, professional, and personal growth of the student. Honors students will explore interests they have developed during their regular coursework at UCSB or during their Junior Year Abroad. Students who choose to participate in the Italian Studies Honors Program will gain valuable research-related skills that can help them meet the demands of graduate or professional school. They learn these skills by:

  1. Identifying and developing research topics concerning Italy and Italian language, literature, and/or culture.
  2. Working collaboratively with a faculty mentor to accomplish a common research goal. 
  3. Communicating effectively in Italian, as well as presenting and sharing their knowledge successfully in Italian.

Who can participate in the Honors Program? The Honors Thesis?

Admission to the Honors Program is highly selective. Seniors with a GPA of 3.5 in the major and 3.5 overall will be invited to participate in the Italian Senior Honors Program, which entails writing a 20-page senior honors essay as an Independent Study Project (up to 4 units course credit). Those who successfully complete this project (with a grade of A- or higher) will graduate with honors; their diplomas and transcripts will read “Distinction in the Major."

How to proceed?

To participate in this program, you should seek the guidance of a faculty member as soon as possible, and by early in the winter quarter at the latest. We strongly encourage you to start in the fall quarter of your senior year. Please submit a written proposal to the professor whom you would like to supervise your thesis. Once he/she has agreed to supervise your work in Italian literature and/or Italian interdisciplinary studies, please enroll in an Italian 199 with this professor (for a maximum of 4 units). These 4 Upper Division units are in addition to the 40 Upper Division Units for the Italian Studies major and do not count toward these minimums. You will then begin preparing a Senior Honors Essay, which should be circa 20 pages long; you are encouraged to write it in Italian. Up to 4 units will be awarded upon completion of your project. 

The Italian Senior Honors Thesis Prize

Senior honors students who complete their projects by mid-May may submit their essays for consideration for the Italian Senior Honors Thesis Prize, a special recognition awarded annually to the best Honors essay dealing with a research topic in Italian language, literature and/or culture. The Prize, which has for many years been supported by the Italian Cultural Heritage Foundation of Santa Barbara (ICHF) comes with a generous cash award. It is awarded at the annual honors ceremony every Spring.