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Senior Thesis & Capstone Project

Your Senior Theses or Capstone Project represent your culminating achievement in the Honors Program, and gives you University Honors Scholar designation.

For both potential employers and graduate school admissions committees, these projects are the best evidence of your individual aptitude, initiative and capacity for success.

Thesis
Engage in scholarly research that results in an Honors Thesis of 35 or more pages. At least 20 quality sources listed in the Works Cited should support this research. The topic can be related to the your major or any Arts & Sciences discipline.

Creative or Applied Project
This project should rest on a strong scholarly foundation, clearly demonstrated by a high level of research and analysis. The written portion should include a minimum of 20 pages of research supported by at least 10 quality sources. An appropriate venue should be considered for presenting the final project to the university community.

Courses
Our two-term course sequence introduces you to research and methodology concepts in RSCH 3001. It then gives you the opportunity to build a close relationship and work one-on-one with a faculty mentor engaged in your of interest during RSCH 3002.

Honors Advisory Seminar (RSCH 3001) Led by Honors faculty and enrolling only a few Honors students, this one-credit course meets once a week for an hour.

Through close investigation of the components of academic inquiry and a variety of research styles, you will explore what makes good scholarship. You are introduced to the strategies of crafting solid research questions, selecting appropriate methodologies and delivering on research agendas.

By the end of RSCH 3001, you will prepare a project abstract and bibliography. With the help of your RSCH 3001 instructor, you will also select an appropriate mentor for RSCH 3002, the Directed Academic Experience.

Directed Academic Experience (RSCH 3002) Working one-on-one with your chosen faculty advisor, you’ll jointly establish a schedule for meeting deadlines, assessing progress, revising various project elements and preparing the final work, either a scholarly research paper or a creative or applied project, related to your major or any Arts & Sciences discipline.

Project Approval
Once complete, the project must pass review by the Honors Advisory Council to earn credit for RSCH 3001 and RSCH 3002. If your thesis receives approval by the council, you will graduate with University Honors Scholar designation.

Honors Advisory Council
The Honors Advisory Council meets regularly to assess the Honors curriculum and to ensure that Honors theses and other capstone projects consistently meet program-wide standards.

Michael Fein, PhD, assistant dean, associate professor; BA, Columbia University; MA, PhD, Brandeis University (Humanities)

Scott Oberacker, PhD, chair, assistant professor; BA, Dickinson College; MA, PhD, UMass Amherst

Wendy Wagner, PhD, professor; BA, Cornell University; MA, PhD, Duke University

Christopher Westgate, PhD, assistant professor; BS, MA, Columbia University; PhD, Texas A&M