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Skidmore College

Thesis Guidelines

The senior thesis in Classics CC 390 Thesis represents a unique opportunity for majors to explore their interests within classics at length, as well as to forge links between those interests and other disciplines. The option of the thesis is open to all classics majors in their senior year, with departmental approval. The department maintains a limit of two senior theses annually.

The senior thesis typically takes on the form of an extended research paper, approximately 50 pages in length. This format is not universal: theses involving performance or studio art are conceivable, and are, in fact, encouraged. Note, however, that the latter projects will also have a written requirement, albeit one of lesser length. In any event, the student will have an opportunity to present the substance of his or her thesis in a scholarly way, in addition to whatever performance or exhibition is necessary.

The time frame for planning, developing, and completing the thesis is the entire senior year. The planning should occupy the fall semester when the student is enrolled in CC 371 Independent Study (1 credit), while the development and completion should take place in the spring semester in CC 390 Thesis (3 credits).

Planning the Thesis (Fall Semester)

If the project is approved, the student will enroll in CC 371 in the fall of senior year and one member of the department will be appointed to serve as the thesis supervisor, who will guide the student and evaluate his or her performance in all phases of its production. In the first meeting of student and supervisor both will draw up a preliminary reading list of primary and secondary sources for the student to explore. Meetings will continue throughout the senior year to assess the status of the project, to plan future courses of action, and when appropriate to refer the student to other available, willing members of the Skidmore faculty whose expertise is germane to the interests of the thesis.

The preliminary reading list should, over the course of the fall, expand into an annotated bibliography whose purpose is twofold. First, it will enable both the student and the supervisor to evaluate the student's progress in researching his or her topic. Second, it will help the student sharpen the focus of the thesis in preparation for the formal proposal (see below). It is assumed that during the planning phase the bibliography will grow in breadth and depth as the student encounters additional sources.

Two weeks prior to spring registration, the student must submit to the supervisor and the department chairperson a formal proposal consisting of the following:

  • the completed proposal form, signed by all relevant parties
  • an up-to-date version of the annotated bibliography
  • a brief statement of purpose. The statement of purpose will provide an overview of the thesis, describing the scholarly background, the particular focus of the student, and the projected format of the completed project

Pending approval of the chair, the student will be allowed to register for CC 390 Thesis in the spring semester. The student should use the remainder of the fall to gather more sources and to refine the thesis further.

Developing and Completing the Thesis (Spring Semester)

In the spring term the student will make the transition from research to producing the thesis. The student enrolled in CC 390 Thesis should meet with his or her thesis supervisor on a regular basis. It is the responsibility of the thesis supervisor to assess the student's progress throughout the spring term. At the beginning of the semester the student and the supervisor should work out a timetable for completing the thesis. The timetable should be tailored to the nature of the project: for research papers, the due dates of outlines, rough drafts, and the like should be determined; the appropriate markers of progress for theses with a performance or an exhibition should be likewise established.

The student and supervisor together will select a second reader, preferably one in the Classics Department, and will establish deadlines for getting rough drafts to the second reader. The deadline for submitting the completed thesis (one for each member of the Classics Department plus any additional outside readers) must be no later than the last day of classes to ensure sufficient time for evaluation by the Classics Department.

The student will present the thesis at a departmental symposium after the end of classes. Thesis students are also encouraged to present their results at the annual collegewide Academic Festival, of which the departmental symposium may be a part. The department will determine whether the student has earned a passing grade in CC 390; the thesis supervisor will determine the student's final grade in that course.