Senior Thesis Requirements

Preparatory work:

  • Successful completion of HIST 250 and 451
  • A thesis-proposal approved by instructor and a second reader chosen in consultation with the instructor
  • An annotated bibliography approved by instructor and the designated second reader
  • On-time submission of all outlines, drafts, peer critiques, etc. for HIST 452

A Senior Thesis must have:

  • 20-25 pages of text (not counting front and back matter, notes, maps, photos, biblio., etc.)
  • A clear thesis that makes a contribution to the field or offers a fresh perspective
  • A historiographical section that surveys pertinent secondary literature
  • Strong, well-developed arguments based on original research in primary sources. The argument must not rely too heavily on one or two sources
  • Documentation in Chicago (Turabian) style
  • A thorough survey of sources, both primary and secondary (we recommend at least TWENTY primary and secondary sources)
  • The thesis should be driven by primary sources, and at least 60% of the footnotes must be primary sources
  • Nuanced interpretations of primary sources, including an awareness of authorship, dating, bias, audience, and type of document
  • Footnotes rather than endnotes
  • An average of at least one footnote per paragraph
  • An annotated bibliography including only sources actually cited in the paper, divided into two sections: primary and secondary sources
  • Secondary sources that include journal articles, but not survey textbooks or general encyclopedias (and not Wikipedia or other dubious online sources)
  • Justifications for secondary sources older than thirty years must be included in the annotated bibliography

Students must demonstrate these basic historical skills:

  • Thorough research
  • Critical analysis of sources
  • Creative synthesis
  • Cogent argumentation
  • Clear writing
  • Responsible quotation
  • Impeccable documentation
  • The ability to collaborate with other historians, demonstrated through documented consultation with the designated Second Reader a minimum of two times during the 452 semester