The Value of the Senior Thesis
The senior thesis is a major undertaking and an excellent opportunity for graduating History majors. Honors students and History Seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 and a GPA of 3.5 in the History major are eligible to write a senior thesis and to graduate cum laude. Although the primary research and writing of the thesis takes place over your senior year, you should begin planning–reading background materials, talking with potential advisors, and searching for primary sources–in the Spring of your junior year.
The thesis gives you an opportunity to "do" history–to engage in debates with other scholars, to offer your own interpretations of primary sources, to transform scattered and undigested information into a meaningful narrative and a compelling analysis. The thesis allows you to bring all of your accumulated knowledge and skills together, and to show of your capability, research skills, writing, organizational skills, originality, and creativity. These skills will be valued in every career or major endeavor you take on.
Choosing a Topic
Your thesis can explore any topic, but it should most certainly be one that greatly interests you. You will also want to ensure that you can successfully carry out the research at Tulane or in the New Orleans area and that you have the necessary faculty guidance. As you begin thinking more seriously about your thesis, consider the following questions:
- Have you done enough background reading to develop a doable and significant project?
- Do you have the requisite language or methodological skills?
- Are there sufficient primary sources for the topic?
Your thesis will be unlike almost any paper you have written during your career at Tulane. It will require intensive research and be of significant length (usually between 50 and 100 pages). Start off on the right foot and you'll end up with a thesis you can be proud of, a thesis that will help open professional doors after you graduate.
In planning your thesis, be sure to explore the links and resources, below. They will help guide you through the thesis process, find research resources, and provide you with the nuts and bolts of the thesis requirements.
Honors Program Thesis Guidelines
All senior theses must follow the calendar and guidelines of the Honors Program. This site provides information on deadlines, requirements, and more.
Click here for more information
The Craft of Research
This book by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, provides all of the tools and resources you'll need as you begin taking your topic of interest and developing it into an outstanding thesis.
Tulane University and the city of New Orleans offer a range of research resources of tremendous depth and richness. Our research collections in Latin America, the U.S. South and African-American history are nationally recognized and offer unique opportunities for students and faculty.
More about our research collections