I highly recommend American Studies to any student interested in understanding American history and culture within the context of today’s society.
Explore your interests. Establish your expertise. Expand your possibilities.
A thesis in American Studies gives you the opportunity to do an in-depth study leading to expertise in a particular area of interest. It prepares you for graduate work, and gives you the research skills that make you an attractive candidate to prospective employers as well as graduate and professional schools. Successful completion of a thesis is one way to graduate with honors in American Studies.
- Is more intensive, guided independent work
- Stretches over two semesters
- Is worth 2 credits
- Is often 80-100 pages (with multiple chapters)
How to get started
If you think you might like to write a thesis, you should plan to meet with your major adviser (and ideally, the prospective thesis adviser) in the spring of your junior year.
Once you have met with your adviser, you will need to:
- Develop a thesis proposal. You can obtain a copy of the proposal guidelines from the American Studies office. This form explains what information you will need to submit for each kind of proposal. The proposal should be submitted to the American Studies office as early in the term as possible. Thesis proposals are due around April 25. Be sure to retain a copy for your records.
- Enroll in the thesis course during registration. You will need to register in the fall of your senior year for a thesis. You may pick up the requisite form from either the Registrar’s Office or the American Studies office.
- Enlist the help of a second reader. Your thesis adviser may recommend a second reader if s/he knows of another faculty member with expertise in your topic. After you name a second reader, you, your adviser, and the second reader should confer to determine in advance what role the second reader will play in advising the writing in progress and evaluating the completed thesis.
If you need models by which to guide the development of your project or thesis, The American Studies Program office maintains copies of projects and theses submitted by former students. You are welcome to browse through these anytime.
A final draft of the thesis is due by April 15. The final version of the thesis must be graded and deposited by the first week of May.
Other deadlines are provisional and should be worked out between you and your adviser. These deadlines will help you and your adviser monitor your progress.