Honors Program - Senior Thesis

What is it?

The Honors Program is open to all majors with a GPA of 3.5 in History, and centers around an original piece of research and writing undertaken with the guidance of a thesis advisor. The program has a 6-credit workload, involves a seminar, one-on-one consultations with a faculty member, and a 50-60 page thesis.

Eligible seniors have the opportunity to write a 12-credit thesis (counting as four upper-division electives) as a Scholar of the College. The Scholar of the College program follows the same timeline, but the thesis requirements are more extensive and the thesis involves a more ambitious project.

Who should consider doing an honors thesis?

If you are hoping to go to graduate school in the humanities, you should seriously consider writing a thesis because it will give you a sense of the kind of work that will be expected at that level.

But you need not have graduate school in mind to write a thesis. If you want to bring all of your undergraduate training to bear on a single, challenging project the honors program is for you. The thesis experience, picking a topic, researching it and producing an original piece of writing will challenge you in ways you have not yet been challenged. It is also incredibly rewarding. Working with other seniors and one-on-one with award winning faculty is a once in a lifetime experience. Such an accomplishment is the culmination of a liberal arts education and will set you up for a lifetime of achievement.

What is the timeline?

Junior Year

Fall Think about a topic and consult with faculty who share your research interests about writing a thesis with him or her.

Submit application for Honors Program to your thesis advisor

  • Work with advisor to write up a proposal for your project, 5-7 pages including a preliminary bibliography.
  • Your advisor will assess your proposal in a letter to the committee, which will be submitted by March 31st.
  • Committee will read applications to evaluate their viability.

Enroll in Honors Thesis Seminar 3-credit course (HIST 4961) Scholar of the College students enroll in 6-credit Advanced Independent Research (HIST-4961 and HIST-4921)

  • You will be contacted by Stacy Moulis in April and instructed how to enroll in the appropriate course.
Early April

E-mail Notification of results

  • If admitted to the program, you will draw up a research plan with your advisor for the summer.
18 April Research Plan due to thesis advisor
June – August Conduct Research according to plan

Senior Year


Honors Thesis Seminar

  • submit course assignments
  • work on chapter while continuing to research
End of November Chapter due
Fall – Spring You should have regular consultations with your advisor
Spring Enroll in 3-credit Honors Thesis (HIST 4962) and continue to work on thesis with advisor. Scholar of the College students enroll in 6-credit Advanced Independent Research (HIST-4922)
28 April

Final Draft of entire thesis due to advisor.

  • You will submit a hard copy as well as an electronic copy of your thesis to your advisor, who will forward it to the Honors Committee.

What does the thesis look like at the end of the process?

The thesis itself should be about 50-60 pages long and generally includes multiple chapters. It should be bound in a clear plastic binder that will both hold the pages securely and permit the title page to be read without opening it. Plastic binders are available at most stationary stores. You can also get it bound more formally at the campus printer. See here for more details.

What can I do with a thesis?

The thesis alone is an impressive accomplishment but you can also take advantage of further
publishing opportunities. There are two different kinds of publishing opportunity. The first and
easiest is to deposit it with the Boston College eScholarship repository. The second involves an
application and editing process to an undergraduate journal. This process is more involved than
simply placing your thesis in a repository, but it is more prestigious and has the potential to reach
more readers.

If you have any questions about the Senior Thesis, please contact Prof. Ismay, Director of the Honors Program.