Honors in Linguistics are awarded at graduation to those students who have a grade-point average of 3.6 or better in their junior and senior years, and who have received a grade of A in either (1) a Linguistics 199 Senior Project or (2) Linguistics 198A-198B Honors Essay. These courses provide an opportunity to engage in independent research and to write a paper that can be submitted to graduate admissions committees. This is an excellent opportunity for those students who are considering graduate school.

The Department awards two levels of honors:

Departmental Honors: Students must have a 3.6 overall GPA for their junior and senior years, and must complete either a Linguistics 199 Senior Project or a Linguistics 198A-198B Honors Essay with a letter grade of A. No special nomination or application process is necessary for students who meet these requirements.

Departmental Highest Honors: Qualified students may be nominated by any member of the faculty to the faculty as a whole for the award of Highest Honors on the basis of research in linguistics completed at UCLA that exceeds the standards normally expected of undergraduate students. The written work would typically (though not necessarily) be completed as a 199 Senior Essay or a 198A-198B Honors Essay. Conferral of Departmental Highest Honors requires a favorable vote by the Department’s entire faculty. If you’re interested in being considered for Highest Honors, talk to your 198 or 199 professor or the professor who advised your research.


Departmental Honors is noted on the UCLA diploma and recipients will be recognized during the Linguistics commencement ceremony.

A monetary award may be granted to students who earn Departmental Honors at the discretion of the Department Chair and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Departmental Highest Honors Recipients 2023-2024

Anna Tong — Anna graduated in June 2024, double majoring in Linguistics & Computer Science and Cognitive Science. During her senior year, she completed a study on the language of trauma, linguistically analyzing Ukrainian trauma narratives as a UCLA/Keck Humanistic Inquiry Undergraduate Research Fellow. Her present research interest focuses on applications of language and computation in the context of studying trauma and trauma healing. She will continue this research through the Cognitive Science MSc program at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics beginning Fall 2024. Following this, she looks forward to further pursuing this research through a PhD.

Kendall Vanderwouw — Kendall graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Linguistics & Anthropology and a minor in Scandinavian Studies. After finishing high school at 16, she began her 3-year-long studies in Linguistics at UCLA, focusing on Sociolinguistics. Her thesis tested the roots of mutual intelligibility in Scandinavian languages, with an emphasis on native Swedish speakers. Kendall conducted additional research in intercultural communication during her two study abroad programs (in Denmark and on Semester at Sea). Next year, she will begin her Master’s studies in Applied Cultural Analysis at Lund University in Sweden.

Zhuying (Emily) Gong Zhuying (Emily) Gong graduated in Spring 2024 with a double major in Linguistics and Mathematics of Computation. In her senior year, she worked closely with Dr. David Goldstein and applied a Bayesian mixture model on Greek data to detect language contacts. She will be working full time postgrad but hopes to eventually pursue a PhD in linguistics.

Departmental Honors Recipients 2023-2024
Mario Peng Lee — Mario Peng Lee graduated with a B.A. in Linguistics & Computer Science, a double major in Psychology, and a minor in Data Science Engineering. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he collaborated across multiple disciplines, focusing on the ethical development of AI. His honors thesis, under Maura O’Leary, led to the Diverse Names Generator, combating bias in linguistic examples. This work was presented at the LSA conference, where he received the Linguistics Travel and Research Award. Mario also served as an Undergraduate Research Scholar and editor for the Undergraduate Research Journal of Psychology.

Kelly Eun — Kelly graduated in June 2024 with a B.A. in Applied Linguistics. Since learning about sentence processing models in LING 132, she has been interested in language comprehension and the interface between syntax and semantics. Using self-paced incremental reading tasks, her senior research project examined how bilingualism could affect parsing decisions on sentences with local ambiguity. Kelly hopes to introduce others to linguistics, paying forward the knowledge and support she received as a student here. With some time now on her hands, she plans to brush up on playing the piano and alto saxophone.

Departmental Highest Honors Recipients 2022-2023
Michelle Johnson — Michelle graduated with a B.A. in linguistics with a minor in ELTS with German. During her senior year, she worked closely with professor and chair, Dr. Megha Sundara, as a member of UCLA’s Language Acquisition Lab. Her honors thesis builds upon Dr. Sundara’s previous research on the recognition of morphological suffixes by English-learning infants with a focus on investigating whether there is a difference in the acquisition of inflectional and derivational morphemes. She plans to remain in contact with the Language Acquisition Lab during her gap year before eventually pursuing a PhD in linguistics.
Madeleine Kostant-Greeley — Madeleine graduated in June 2023 with a double major in Applied Linguistics and Political Science and a minor in Spanish. Her favorite subject in linguistics is phonology, and she wrote an experimental honors thesis on phonological theory. After applying to law schools this fall, she will spend her gap year teaching in Madrid via a government program.
Ashley Ghodsian — Ashley graduated in Spring 2023 as a UCLA Linguistics Departmental Scholar, with her B.A. in Linguistics and Computer Science and her M.A. in Linguistics. While at UCLA, she worked on independent research projects in syntax and bilingualism for two years and started working on an acquisition and language processing project in her final quarter. She is also a proud member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., where she has gained much of her community leadership experience in her native Los Angeles. She hopes to tie together her passions for language, problem-solving, and social justice issues in any work she does in the future.

Departmental Honors Recipients 2022-2023
Shalinee Maitra — Shalinee Maitra graduated in December 2022 with a degree in Linguistics and Computer Science. She worked as a research assistant in the Linguistics department for two years, contributing to computational and language acquisition projects. Her senior research project focused on how children might acquire Spanish word order. In addition to linguistics, she was involved with the Bruin Film Society and the Bruin Democrats at UCLA. She is currently back home in Boston and plans to pursue a PhD in linguistics in the near future.Yue Chen — Yue Chen is a recent graduate from UCLA, holding a degree in Linguistics and Psychology. During her two-year adventures as a research assistant in the Language Processing Lab, she actively participated in eye-tracking and sentence-processing projects. Under the guidance of Professor Harris, her senior research project delved into adult comprehension of personal pronouns, utilizing eye-tracking data. Outside the realm of language-related endeavors, Yue finds solace in reading classic literature and embarking on invigorating hiking adventures.
Roxane Martin — Originally from San Diego, Roxane Martin came to UCLA excited to pursue her passion in Linguistics and Computer Science. Supplemented by a minor in Mathematics, Roxane directed her focus on Computational Linguistics research, completing a project on applying Probabilistic Finite State Tree Automata to Long Distance Licensing Structures. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in Natural Language Processing as a Software Engineer.

Departmental Honors Recipients 2021-2022

Trevor Htoon — Trevor has a wide variety of interests in Linguistics (and even in other fields). His strongest interests are in Historical, Socio-, and Anthropological Linguistics (although he is interested in other domains such as Computational, Applied, etc.). Within these fields, Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, and Dialectology are what he enjoys focusing on. His specialties lie mostly within Asian and Indo-European languages (but his degree is just in Linguistics).Guoran Zhang — Guoran Zhang is a Chinese-English bilingual speaker. She is a recent graduate from UCLA who began her journey in the field of Linguistics after her sophomore year, and now is driven to pursue a master’s degree.