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Arts and Letters Requirements
A senior thesis is a yearlong research project developed with a faculty advisor that attempts to make a contribution to a particular field of study.
The final project may take on a variety of forms, including a scholarly paper, narrative nonfiction essay, journalistic article or series of articles, documentary film, or museum exhibition; it can reflect personal interests and career goals.
This is your opportunity to explore fundamental questions, create a work of art, and contribute to a scholarly conversation in your chosen field of study. And in the process, you build skills that will serve you for a lifetime, whether you move into the business world, graduate or professional school, or community service.
During your sophomore and junior years, you will begin exploring in greater depth the academic fields and topics that interest you. As you do, pay attention to the classes and ideas you find most intriguing. Ask yourself: What issues might you be eager to research in more depth? Who might be a good faculty adviser for your thesis project? How can you take advantage of your study abroad experience to do thesis research or develop topic ideas?
Your senior thesis can include—but is not limited to—performances, productions, artwork, and written texts. It should be a substantial piece of work, considerably more than is usual for a single course. Specifically, a thesis should:
- Aspire to make a contribution to the field of study,
- Include a mentor in residence throughout the process of proposing and completing the work, and
- Be the completion of a yearlong process designed to help you advance your skills and deepen your understanding of the subject you have chosen.
It is best to check in frequently with your department or faculty mentor for specific advice, and when possible to take a thesis research course during the spring of junior year or fall of senior year. You may also find information on your department’s website, or on the Arts and Letters senior thesis page.