Beginning academic year of Fall 2022-Spring 2023:
  • A Senior Thesis is an independent study with one faculty member for one semester (spring or fall), that results in a research paper of approximately 30 pages due at the end of either semester of student’s senior year. The student will register for one semester of SOCI- or ANTH-4395.
  • A Senior Thesis with Departmental Honors is a two-semester independent research-intensive with a Committee of two to four faculty members, resulting in a paper of 50-80 pages, due during the student’s last semester, and submitted to the department for Departmental Honors consideration. (Quantitative research papers might be shorter.) The student will register for two semesters of SOCI- or ANTH-4395.

The Senior Thesis: 
A Senior Thesis is an opportunity to extend, revise, or revisit research conducted in the course of the sociology/anthropology major. The major expectation is to complete a written paper that conforms to the standards set by the faculty supervisor, in the course of one semester. To be eligible for the Senior Thesis, the interested student must complete two steps. During the registration period of the semester before the Senior Thesis is to be completed, the interested student must 1) ask a faculty member of the SOAN department to supervise their Senior Thesis, and if agreed upon 2) submit a short proposal to that faculty member for approval. The supervising faculty member will then set expectations for the semester, which usually include weekly meetings with reading and writing deadlines, focused on a single topic or project. The senior thesis may include a second committee member, from within the department or outside of the department. The student will receive a letter grade at the end of the semester. 

The Senior Thesis with Departmental Honors:
The Departmental Honors Senior Thesis is a longer and more intensive undertaking than the Senior Thesis. The student must: a) complete two semesters of work and submit a properly-formatted research paper to the department and the university; b) receive grades of “A” in each of the two Senior Thesis courses; and c) be unanimously recommended for Departmental Honors by the student’s Senior Thesis Committee. It is designed for exceptionally motivated students who wish to pursue research that surpasses requisite work for the major of sociology or anthropology. To be eligible for completion of a Senior Thesis with Departmental Honors, SOAN majors must at their time of application: 

  • Have a 3.3-grade point average overall.  
  • Have a 3.65-grade point average in the sociology or anthropology major. 

Interested students who meet these criteria should then: 

  • Form a thesis committee by no later than the end of the semester before the Departmental Honors Senior Thesis is to begin, usually the spring of the student’s junior year. Reach out to the potential Committee Chair first with an idea of what you would like to complete. If the faculty member agrees, then discuss who else might serve on the committee, and ask for their participation. The Committee must consist of at least one sociology or anthropology professor and up to three other Trinity professors. Only one of these members may be external to the department, and they may not serve as Committee Chair. 
  • Enroll in SOCI- or ANTH-4395, with Committee Chair as faculty of record.
  • Submit an email request for consideration to the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology by no later than the Monday before the semester the Departmental Honors Senior Thesis will start, copying the faculty committee members who have agreed to serve on the thesis committee.
  • In consultation with Committee Chair, submit a written proposal of approximately 2500-3000 words, including text and references, to Committee members by the third Friday of September in the fall semester or of February in the spring semester during which the Departmental Honors Senior Thesis will start. The proposal must include:
    • A thorough description of the intended study, including a clear statement of the research question and several paragraphs outlining the project’s methodology
    • a brief summary of the state of scholarly research on the topic; 
    • a concise description of any work the student has already undertaken with regard to the research question (e.g., a paper written for a previous class, data collected for a summer research project, a project completed in a research methods course); 
    • a detailed timetable for completing the data collection, data analysis, writing, and faculty review; and
    • a preliminary reference list in American Sociological Association (ASA) citation style.
  • Upon acceptance of the Committee, determine schedule. Usually this will include meeting regularly with the Committee members in order to receive feedback on thesis progress during the course of both semesters; a summary of research findings during the first semester; and a draft of the thesis with time to allow for feedback and edits during the second semester. 
  • Enroll in SOCI- or ANTH-4395 for a second semester.
  • Make an oral presentation of the Honors Senior Thesis findings to the members of the Committee and the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and any invited guests. The presentation should last approximately 30 minutes and be followed by a 15 to 20-minute question-and-answer session.
  • Be unanimously recommended for graduation with Departmental Honors by the Committee and the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.  
  • Submit the completed Senior Thesis prior to the deadline set by the university, usually in early April.

Responsibilities of the Chair of the Departmental Honors Senior Thesis Committee

  • The Committee Chair will take primary responsibility for communication between the student and other members of the Committee, as well as between the Committee and the University.
  • The Committee Chair will take primary responsibility for grading the student’s progress during each of the two semesters. 
  • The Committee Chair, in consultation with other Committee members, will establish a date for the student to make an oral presentation of the Senior Thesis to the Committee and the Department Chair, prior to the due date required by the university. The Chair will lead the discussion to determine any corrections the student needs to make to the thesis before final approval and assign the letter grade for ANTH- or SOCI-4395.  
  • The Committee Chair will assure that the complete and corrected thesis will be submitted to the Department Chair as a pdf file no later than the due date required by the university, including a separate title page that bears the signature of the Department Chair and all members of the Committee.