LALACS Program Senior Honors Thesis
Prerequisite and Application Process
- Determine that you have successfully completed two of our survey courses before the end of your junior year: LACS 1, LACS 4, LATS 3 or LATS 5.
- Determine that you meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 for all Dartmouth courses, and 3.3 in the LACS/LATS major.
- Obtain a faculty advisor.
- Write a thesis proposal, have it signed by your faculty advisor, and submit it to the LALACS Program Administrator, Laurie Furch, by May 15 of the junior year.
- Enroll in LACS/LATS 98 in the fall of your senior year, and LACS/LATS 99 in the winter. If necessary, LACS/LATS 99 may be taken again in the spring. A grade of “Ongoing” will be assigned for LACS 99/LATS 99 for the winter term, and the final grade will be assigned at the end of the spring term.
- At the end of fall term students will write a five- to seven-page thesis prospectus. The prospectus should be presented to the LALACS Program Office no later than the first week of winter term to be approved by the LALACS Steering Committee.
- Theses must be completed by the eighth week of spring term of the senior year. Students missing this deadline may be liable to lose eligibility for honors.
Thesis Proposal Guidelines
Use the following questions to guide your thesis proposal. We suggest that you use them as subheadings in your proposal. The proposal should be approximately two to three pages long (not including a preliminary annotated bibliography).
- What is your research topic?
- What is the specific question you will examine?
- Why is it important and interesting?
- What is your preliminary answer to the question?
- How will you approach the research? Case studies? Large data sets? In-depth interviews? Textual resources? Primary sources?
- What resources are available to you at Dartmouth that will help you in collecting your evidence?
- Will you need to conduct research off campus? How will you secure funding? How will you schedule this off-campus research?
- Enclose a preliminary annotated bibliography (10-15 sources). An annotated bibliography includes a description in three to four sentences of the main findings of each reference and how it relates to your research.
Guidelines for Thesis Prospectus
In consultation with your LALACS faculty advisor, use the following guidelines to prepare the five-to-seven-page prospectus that must be submitted to the LALACS Steering Committee no later than November 15.
Thesis Statement: Clearly state the central argument of your thesis. A thesis statement tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. This thesis statement must make a claim that will then be substantiated convincingly through the evidence, data, analyses, and sources that comprise the rest of the thesis project.
Methodology or Critical Approach: Depending on the disciplinary concerns raised by your thesis statement and the data or materials you will analyze, you must clarify how you will engage with the subject matter of your thesis. For example, many social science methodologies employ qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method approaches. In the humanities, critical approaches can include psychoanalytical, historical, generic, or semiotic approaches.
Existing Research and Current Debates: You should provide a concise overview of the most relevant research and debates in your area of study and how you will position your own project within existing scholarship. What unique contribution will your project make in the area of research you have chosen to pursue?
Structure and Organization of the Thesis: Describe each chapter of your thesis and how the central focus of the different sections will contribute to answering your overarching thesis question. Describe how you will integrate your research data and/or secondary readings into each section of the thesis. You should devote at least one concise paragraph to each individual section or chapter of the overall project.
Preliminary Findings or Conclusion: Anticipate how your research will succeed in proving your central thesis statement. What is important about your scholarly contribution to the area of study you have chosen to pursue? What new knowledge will your thesis produce?
Expanded Bibliography: Enclose a standard bibliography of at least 25 sources, including the primary texts you plan to analyze, if applicable. Consult with your faculty advisor to make sure you are using the correct bibliographical format for each entry.