Checklist for ANSO Students Contemplating a Senior Honors Thesis:
The Department encourages qualified students to consider writing a senior honors thesis. The experience of grappling with a significant problem over an extended period of time and in close association with a member of the department’s faculty offers an unparalleled opportunity for intellectual growth. Attached to this checklist is a copy of the department’s policy on senior honors theses. Please read it carefully and be aware of the following:
The benefits of writing a thesis are derived from the writing, not from the honors that might be awarded as a result. Examine your motivation for writing a thesis. It is best to embark on this sort of project because the project itself challenges you, not because you want to add a line to your resume.
Be aware, too, that simply finishing a thesis doesn’t mean it will automatically be awarded Honors. The standard for Honors in this department is a high one, and not all efforts are awarded Honors. Students whose theses were not awarded Honors nonetheless found the experience of writing a thesis a valuable and rewarding one. Even if you are not awarded Honors, you will receive full course credit for the work you do.
Start early! Remember that you must consult members of the department faculty early enough to find someone who will work with you to develop a proposal before the end of reading period in the Spring before your senior year. If you are studying abroad during junior year, you should write to the department chair or to your potential thesis advisor to make appropriate arrangements.
Make full use of the resources at your disposal. Consult frequently with your advisor, but make as much use as you can of other members of the department. Remember, it is the department as a whole that approves your proposal.
Plan ahead! The Department will do what it can to help you with thesis research, but you must give us time to do so. Research and writing always take longer than you think they will; budget your time generously.
Finish early! For many people the hardest part of writing a thesis is not the initial composition, but doing the revisions under time pressure that comes at the end. Remember that you should have a complete first draft to your advisor by Spring Break.
Have fun! Above all, writing a thesis should be a feast for your mind. Enjoy it.
Department of Anthropology & Sociology
85 Mission Park Dr.
Williamstown, MA 01267 USA
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