Distinguished Major Program Coordinator
123 New Cabell Hall
The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) offers students who major in either the Studies degree or the Language & Literature degree, the opportunity to graduate with distinction by pursuing an in-depth analysis of issues and topics related to their major. To qualify, students must meet all the requirements of their major in addition to the following:
- Students must take 12 credits of concentration courses at the 4000-level or above, including MESA 4998 and MESA 4999 (a six-hour sequence of tutorial work on a senior thesis to be completed over the Fall and Spring semesters of the fourth year).
- Students are responsible for obtaining the agreement of two faculty members to serve as their thesis advisors. At least one of these faculty members must be from MESALC.
- With the permission of the DMP Coordinator, one of the readers may be a faculty member from another University.
- Students are encouraged to use primary language sources in researching their theses. The standards for admission, program requirements, and evaluation procedures are outlined below.
Admission into the DMP occurs in the Spring semester of the student's third year. Applicants must have declared either the Studies major or the Language & Literature major. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.4 or above in both their major GPA and general GPA. Applications should include the following:
- A statement of interest explaining the student's desire to enter the program and his or her general area of research interest, mentioning which faculty member(s) the student might approach as advisor(s).
- A writing sample (ex: a strong paper written for a course).
- One sealed letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the student's concentration either sent directly to the Distinguished Major Program Coordinator, listed above, or sealed and submitted by the student with the other application materials.
- A copy of the student's most recent transcript.
All materials must be submitted to the DMP Coordinator by February 15th. The DMP Committee will decide on admissions to the DMP shortly thereafter. Applicants will automatically be considered for the Mastercard Scholarship, as well (see below).
Students in the DMP must have a grade point average of 3.4 or better, both cumulatively and in the major, at the time of graduation.
DMP Students are required to complete the following:
- Satisfy the distribution rules for their MESALC major, including 6 credits at the 4000-level or above.
- Complete a Senior Thesis (MESA 4998 and MESA 4999).
The DMP Thesis
Students in the Distinguished Majors Program are required to write a thesis of high quality (in addition to completing all the requirements of their major, such as the capstone seminar course for the Studies major).
- DMP students must enroll in MESA 4998 and MESA 4999.
- MESA 4998 (0 credits) is offered during the Fall semester and consists of gathering sources and research materials.
- MESA 4999 (6 credits) is offered during the Spring semester and consists of drafting, revising, and finalizing the thesis.
- By the end of the Spring semester, students will receive a grade for both MESA 4998 and MESA 4999.
- Note that these courses can count towards the distribution requirement of the student's degree, but they are not a substitute for the capstone seminar.
- Students are responsible for obtaining the agreement of two faculty members to serve as their thesis advisors.
- At least one of these advisors must be a MESALC faculty member.
- With the permission of the DMP Coordinator, one of the thesis advisors may be a faculty member from another University.
- Students are encouraged to use primary language sources in researching their thesis.
- The minimum length of the thesis should be 11,000-13,000 words (approximately 44-52 pages).
Students who successfully complete the requirements of the DMP program with a minimum GPA of 3.4 will be evaluated for commencement honors of Distinction, High Distinction, and Highest Distinction. Honors are awarded by the Departmental Council on the basis of overall academic performance as well as the recommendation of the first and second readers of the thesis.
Mastercard Asian Studies Scholarship
The Mastercard Asian Studies Scholarship competition is held annually. This scholarship was established by Ms. Rebecca George and H. Eugene Lockhart Jr. to encourage the study of Asia. It is based on merit with a successful candidate showing excellence in language study and creative approaches to topics in Middle Eastern, South Asian, or East Asian studies or languages. The award will go toward the payment of tuition and fees. Middle Eastern or South Asian Studies or Language & Literature majors who apply for the Distinguished Majors Program will automatically be considered for the Mastercard Scholarship. A separate application is not required.