Senior Thesis

Senior Thesis in French

Students interested in a Senior Thesis in French must have taken at least one 40000-level seminar before their senior year. Ideally, interested students should consult with a potential supervising professor in the spring of their junior year and agree on a preliminary topic and a research plan. Students should then register in the spring semester of their senior year for the independent study course designated as Senior Thesis in order to complete the thesis under the direction of the supervising professor.

Description

The Senior Thesis is a written capstone project that involves a significant research component with an emphasis on original thought. Regardless of the nature of the project, the Senior Thesis might best be viewed as an extended essay. In formulating, researching, and writing the thesis, students majoring in French will work one-on-one with a thesis director, preferably a faculty member in the French section.

Your thesis will be a written document of approximately 40 pages in length. The thesis may be written in English or French. 

Students should begin thinking about their thesis in their third year at Notre Dame. Study abroad in France or in a Francophone country provides an excellent opportunity to start developing a topic, thanks to relatively easy access to archives, museums, libraries, and other research sites. Grants from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, among other entities at Notre Dame, also support travel and research for senior theses. Students are encouraged to contact a potential thesis supervisor before they formulate their research project, whether they are headed for study abroad or a university-supported research trip, in order to take full advantage of the resources available. During the summer before their senior year, students will refine their topic, reading lists, and a research plan. Then, at the outset of the fall semester of the senior year, the student and advisor will determine the amount of consultation required and draw up deadlines for submitting drafts and completing readings. It is important that all parties have a clear sense of procedures and deadlines.

Deadlines:

  • March 15 (spring semester, junior year): Communicate interest in writing a Senior Thesis
  • February 15 (spring semester, senior year): an expanded / revised abstract / proposal with annotated bibliography
  • March 20 (or the Monday after Spring break): draft of first 10-15 pages of expanded / reworked thesis
  • April 5: complete first draft of the expanded / reworked thesis
  • April 20: final draft of the thesis, with bibliography
  • April 25: abstract and title page
  • May 1 (or first day of exam week): completed thesis delivered, in full proper formatting

Senior Thesis in Italian

Any student who is planning to write a thesis should enroll in the Italian Seminar in the fall semester of their senior year (or the year they are writing the thesis). The Italian Seminar is a prerequisite for enrolling in Thesis Direction Tutorials in the spring. Exceptions may occasionally be made for irresolvable conflicts, or if the student takes a graduate course in the fall instead of the Italian Seminar. To proceed with writing a thesis in the spring semester, students must earn at least a B in the Italian Seminar (or the grad course). Any undergraduate thesis for Italian, whether Honors, a regular Senior Thesis, or College Honors, is written over two semesters.

Any student planning to write a thesis is strongly encouraged to choose an adviser in the spring semester of their junior year, to begin to narrow a topic, and begin reading and research in the summer. The deadline for declaring the intention to write a thesis, for any student enrolled in the Italian Seminar, is September 15. The Italian Seminar will require a two-page research proposal by September 15; a detailed outline with annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources by October 15; a rough draft of the preliminary Seminar paper by November 15; and the final submitted Seminar paper (which serves as the first, basic version for any student writing a thesis) on the first day of exam week of the fall semester. The Italian Seminar paper is normally 15-20 pages (3,750-5,000 words).

In the spring of their junior year, students who plan to write a thesis should apply for funding to support their research in the summer before their senior year. They should consult the CUSE (Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement) website for information, and for useful mini-classes on applying for funding, finding advisers, etc... Some funding sources to explore: Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Sciola Grant for Research in Italy (through ISLA), Ravarino Scholarships in Italian, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Office for Undergraduate Studies, the Center for the Study of Language and Culture; the President's Circle Fund.

Any student doing Honors in Italian, or a College Honors Thesis, will then take ROIT 58000, a 3 credit Honors Thesis Tutorial, in the spring of their senior year, as their required 11th course, to expand / rework / revise / their Italian Seminar paper into a full thesis. Any student writing a regular Senior Thesis, will then take ROIT 48000, a 1 credit Senior Thesis Tutorial, in the spring of their senior year, to expand / revise / rework their Italian Seminar paper into a thesis.

Spring semester thesis writing deadlines:

  • February 15: an expanded/revised abstract/proposal with annotated bibliography;
  • March 20 (or the Monday after Spring break): draft of first 10-15 pages of expanded/reworked thesis;
  • April 5: complete first draft of the expanded/reworked thesis; April 20: final draft of the thesis, with bibliography;
  • April 25: abstract and title page;
  • May 1 (or first day of exam week): completed thesis delivered, in full proper formatting.

An Honors Thesis (6 credits) is normally 35-50 pages (double-spaced, 12-point font; or 9,000-13,000 words); a regular Senior Thesis (4 credits) is normally 25-30 pages (6,000-7,500 words). All theses require:

  • a properly formatted title page;
  • an abstract of 250-300 words;
  • a research essay in proper academic style, with properly formatted notes, on the model of a scholarly article;
  • a bibliography or list of works cited, properly formatted.

Senior Thesis in Spanish

The Senior Seminar (ROSP 53000), conducted in the target language, and during this time you will choose your thesis topic and begin to develop the thesis. In the spring semester, you will register for the independent study course designated as Senior Thesis (1.0 credit hours) in order to complete your thesis under the direction of your supervising professor

Description

The Senior Thesis is a written capstone project that typically involves a significant research component, but the emphasis is still on original thought. Regardless of the nature of the project, the Senior Thesis might best be viewed as an extended essay. In formulating, researching, and writing the Thesis, students majoring in Spanish will work one-on-one with a Thesis director.
Your thesis will be a written document of approximately 40 pages in length. The thesis may be written in English or Spanish. 
Students should begin thinking about a Thesis or Project in their third year at Notre Dame. Those who study in Spain or Latin America in the spring of their junior year may want to write to professors they might want to work with, indicating their potential thesis interests. Ideally, students will begin to research topics and prepare a reading list for the thesis during the summer before their senior year.  Typically, the advisor for the project will be a faculty member in Spanish. Both advisor and student will agree on the amount of consultation required and deadlines for submitting drafts and completing readings. It is important that all parties have a clear sense of procedures and deadlines.

Students planning to write a Senior Thesis in Spanish must:

  • Communicate their interest in writing a Senior Thesis by October 15th of the student’s senior year
  • Complete at least an outline and a bibliography for the project during the fall semester while taking the Senior Seminar; for many students the paper required for completion of the Senior Seminar will form part of the final thesis
  • The second semester of the senior year must be devoted to completing the writing or the project work, and a full draft of the thesis or project must be submitted to the advisor by March 15th
  • The final, complete version of the thesis or project must be submitted by April 15th. Students should submit one copy to their faculty thesis advisor and one electronic and one hard copy to the Department.