A distinctive requirement of the Program of Liberal Studies is the senior thesis, a formal paper of between 40 and 60 pages written in the senior year under the close direction of one of the members of the PLS faculty.
The senior thesis provides the opportunity for students to integrate three years' worth of knowledge and skills with research on a specific topic. Planning for the essay takes place beginning in the spring of junior year. The PLS Chairperson meets with junior students in the fall of junior year..
Senior theses are eligible for the annual Otto A. Bird award given each spring in the Program for the finest senior essay. All senior theses are bound and remain in the department office.
In rare instances, a student’s thesis may be directed jointly by a member of another department and a PLS faculty member. Special arrangements are made for students in the Arts and Letters honors program, which also requires a senior thesis. Those in the honors program can satisfy both the PLS and honors program thesis requirements with the same thesis.
Senior Thesis Tutorial Course Description
Senior Thesis Tutorial
PLS 48701 and 48702
The senior essay tutorial provides the framework in which PLS seniors can prepare a substantial thesis as a culmination of their three years in the program. Working with students on a one-to-one basis, faculty members help them define their topics and guide them in the development and writing of their senior thesis.