Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Honors Information

The Honor program in Asian Studies and Asian Cultures and Languages provide ambitious and focused students with an opportunity to do independent research in the form of a substantial thesis.

Application Process

All applications are conditional upon the student finding an appropriate faculty thesis supervisor who is in Asian Studies or affiliated with Asian Studies.  The approval and signature of this thesis supervisor is required on this application form.  The thesis supervisor must be a faculty member (with Ph.D.) affiliated with the Asian Studies, with rank of tenured, tenure-track, or one of the following: assistant professor of instruction, associate professor of instruction or professor of instruction. The supervisor’s academic interests should be compatible with the scope of the proposed thesis so that they may be able to direct the project.  The second reader may be any standing faculty at The University of Texas whose research interests relate to the student’s thesis topic. The selection of the second reader should be made in consultation with the thesis supervisor. While the honors thesis supervisor will provide the main direction on the project, the Faculty Director of Asian Studies Undergraduate Honors is available to support the thesis students throughout the project.

After consultation with the Faculty Director of Asian Studies Undergraduate Honors, students should apply to the honors program during their junior year in the Fall semester by November 30 for the Spring-Fall Honors Thesis sequence and Spring semester by April 30 for the Fall-Spring Honors Thesis sequence.  The Fall-Spring sequence is recommended.  

To qualify, applicants must supply the Honors Program with evidence of the following:

  • Upper-division standing at UT Austin
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 for UT Austin and 3.5 for Asian Studies and/or Asian Studies Cultures and Languages 
  • Completion of a minimum of 12 semester hours in Asian Studies and/or Asian Studies Cultures and Languages 
  • Strong research and writing skills (ANS 379, Capstone seminar, recommended)
  • Submit completed Honors Program Application to

Once admitted to the honors program, students should also submit a completed Honors Contract to Asian Studies Honors This contract is an agreement between the student and the thesis supervisor, and completion of the contract is necessary to register for the ANS 678H sequence. 

Graduation with Departmental Honors

To graduate with Departmental Honors, qualified students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Declare “Asian Studies” or "Asian Studies Cultures and Languages" as an official major
  • ANS 678HA and 678HB, Honors Tutorial Course, with a grade of A in both, in which the student completes a thesis approved by their Asian Studies thesis supervisor and second reader
  • A minimum UT Austin overall GPA of 3.0 and a 3.5 or higher GPA in the student’s major of Asian Studies or Asian Cultures and Languages
  • Completion of at least 60 semester hours in residence at UT. Up to 30 hours must be in residence in Asian Studies and/or Asian Cultures and Languages, depending on catalog. 

The Honors Sequence-- ANS 678H Thesis Tutorial

During the thesis year honors students are required to take the two-semester Honors Tutorial Sequence--ANS 678HA (Carries the Independent Inquiry Flag) and 678HB (Carries the Writing Flag). 

In ANS 678HA and 678HB, honors students work on their research and theses with their thesis supervisor. The bulk of initial research, reading, and pre-draft writing will be done during ANS 678HA of the Honors Tutorial sequence with ANS 678HB devoted to completing the thesis. The digital copy of the final thesis is due on the first day of final exams of the semester in which the student is enrolled in ANS 678HB.Please submit to A final and bound copy of the thesis is due on the last day of final exams (by 5 PM) and must be submitted to the department office (WCH 4.134) the semester in which the thesis was completed. 

All potential honors students are encouraged to take ANS 379 (Capstone, various topics, at any point sophomore year and beyond). Capstone courses are topical in nature, but should help students develop the advanced research and writing skills their thesis will require. While students are unlikely to find a direct match between the topics of the Capstone and their thesis, there are opportunities to utilize research and writing developed in the Seminar as part of the thesis with advanced planning.

Honors Thesis

Writing the thesis, which is both longer (minimum 40 pages) and more intellectually sophisticated than other college writing assignments, is for most honors students the most fulfilling experience of their undergraduate careers. The completed thesis will be read by the faculty supervisor and a second reader; the latter may, if necessary, be based in another department. The two readers will assess the thesis with the following criteria in mind: 1) quality of argument; 2) breadth and depth of research; 3) quality of writing and organization; and 4) conformity with current rules of proper academic conduct. 

For detailed information on writing honors theses, students are encouraged to consult the College of Liberal Arts’ “Senior Thesis Manual: Departmental Honors Programs.” A copy can be obtained from Asian Studies honors director and the academic advisor. Students may also download the PDF.

Students are encouraged to consult the Writing & Research page of the departmental website for resources on the writing and research processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a transfer student. Am I eligible for the honors program?
Yes. Transfer students may apply for the honors program.
I want to study abroad. Can I still do the honors program?
Many of our students incorporate study abroad into their thesis plans. Students interested in honors and studying abroad should consult with the academic advisor.
I want to get honors in two different majors. Is that possible?
Students who would like to receive honors from two departments must complete two separate theses or seek departmental honors in only one of their two majors.
I'm in Plan II. Can I use my honors thesis here to count for my Plan II thesis?
Plan II majors seeking Special Honors in Asian Studies or Asian Cultures and Languages through the honors program should apply to the program and, once accepted, meet with Plan II advisors to review procedures and options.

Program Contacts

Dr. Chiu-Mi Lai

Honors Director

WCH 4.114

(512) 471-5811

Useful Links