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Skidmore College

Guidelines for the Senior Thesis Essay

FOCUS, PURPOSE, THESIS (student should work with faculty member to develp this portion of the essay)
  • Major idea is easily identifiable and sophisticated.
  • Exhibits in depth understanding and thoughtful, unique explorations of topic.
  • Inventive and original content is articulated in colorful details rather than simply told.
  • The author has a strong voice and demonstrateds full jnderstanding of ideas.
  • Paper shows evident of research that is integrated with the student's own interests.
  • Major idea is evident, but may be confusing at times.
  • Idea is promising but may lack clarity, insight or originality.
  • Demonstrates a solid understanding of the ideas.
  • Idea may be general and not explored to full potential.
  • Thoughtful but predictable.
  • Adequate understanding of the ideas.
  • Difficult to identify or does not contain a major idea.
  • Logic may fail or argument is unclear.
  • Simplistic view of topic.
  • Lack of effort or comprehension.
  • Difficult to follow or understand.
STRUCTURE + ORGANIZATION (student should work with faculty membe rto develop this portion of the essay)
  • Structure is evident, understandable and appropriate for thesis.
  • Structure should set up an introduction and bring thoughts to a conclusion.
  • The essay is clearly organization and moves logically from idea to idea and point to point.
  • Structure is generally clear but may have passages that are unclear or lacking in insight.
  • May have too much or too little information.
  • Unclear or non-existent structure, may wander or jump around.
SUPPORT + DEVELOPMENT (student should work with The Writing Center and the faculty member to develop this portion of the essay)
  • Uses examples to support ideas, without factual errors.
  • Clearly synthesizes knowledge from other fields into studio practice.
  • Ideas and quotations are carefully documented and cited.
  • Uses some examples to support major points.
  • Idea may be too general, but apprpriate. May only refer to sources common to the studio arts.
  • Ideas and quotations are only occasionally documented and cited or lacking.
  • Few or weak examples used to support ideas.
  • Provides no references or examples to support opinions and ideas.
MECHANICS + PRESENTATION (student should work with The Writing Center to develop this portion of the essay)
  • Appropriate and sophisticated use of vocabulary and terminology.
  • Grammar sentence stucture and use of punctuation is flawless.
  • Paper should show evidence of editing and proofreading, punctuation and formatting.
  • Uses active voice where possible.
  • Vocabulary appropriate but limited.
  • Grammar, spelling or punctuation errors-may have a run-on sentence.