Seniors

COLLEGE OF SOCIAL STUDIES

REGISTRATION NOTES

SENIORS

Last Spring you registered for the Fall Semester. When you return to campus, please review your selections, discuss your schedule with your advisor, and make whatever changes are needed. Please keep in mind the requirements and other considerations given below.

Your CSS advisor for this year will normally be the same as last year, but due to sabbaticals and leaves, she or he may have been replaced over the summer. Please check your WesPortal to see if your advisor has changed and, if so, to whom you have been reassigned. Seek advice and authorization from her or him during November preregistration.


Choosing Courses for the Senior Year

All CSS Seniors take CSS 391, Senior Colloquium, in the Fall Semester, and were preregistered for the Colloquium in the Spring. In addition, during their Senior year they take either two Senior Thesis Tutorials (worth one credit each) resulting in the completion of a Senior Thesis, or they make take an individual Tutorial (worth one credit) in order to complete a Senior Essay. Very occasionally, and with the approval of your advisor and the CSS Co-Chairs, Senior Essays may also be completed within an advanced seminar in one of the social sciences.

All Seniors must send an e-mail to the CSS Administrative Assistant by Wednesday, September 6th, of Drop/Add indicating whether they are doing a Senior Thesis or a Senior Essay. Students should indicate the semester in which they plan to complete the Senior Essay. In addition, all Seniors should submit an updated Senior Thesis Proposal or Senior Essay Proposal as an attachment to the e-mail. Guidelines for that proposal are described in the “Senior Year Program,” a document that is part of this summer mailing.

General Education Expectations:  You must finish both your Stage I and Stage II general education expectations by the end of your senior year in order to graduate with a CSS major.  If you are not yet Stage II compliant, you should devise with your advisor a plan (or a revised/updated plan if you already submitted a previous plan) to complete Stage II by the end of spring semester.  Please let the CSS Co-Chairs know your plan to complete your Gen Ed requirements. Do this by e-mail to Martha by Wednesday, September 7.   

GENERAL NOTES

Grades: As in Junior year, CSS courses (including Senior Thesis and Individual Tutorials) are graded on the usual scale of A to F. You may take your other courses graded or not, if the professor gives you a choice, and the results will be recorded accordingly on your transcript by the Registrar's Office. For the Senior Thesis Tutorials, your Senior Thesis advisor will usually give you a grade of X for the Fall Semester, which serves as a placeholder until the Senior Thesis is completed. Then she or he will revise the X grade to a letter grade in the Spring. This is to your advantage. Note that the Honors designation on your Senior Thesis has no automatic relationship with the grades you receive for your Senior Thesis Tutorials; Honors is determined by the Thesis Readers, while your Tutorial grades are determined solely by your Senior Thesis Advisor.

TranscriptsYou should know that the Registrar's Office prepares your transcript using a special format for CSS students. In addition, you should check your transcript before including it in applications for jobs or graduate school; information sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, especially transfer credits (especially from overseas programs), completion of Incompletes, clearing of X grades, and Audits.

Printable Senior Registration Notes

CSS SENIOR YEAR PROGRAM, 2017-2018

Senior Thesis or Senior Essay

Senior Thesis and Senior Essay Workshops

Senior Thesis:  If you did not line up a Senior Thesis advisor last spring, move quickly now or you may lose the advisor you have in mind. Even if you obtained an advisor last spring, take the initiative by contacting her or him before or during the first week of classes; too many theses are weakened or even fail because of time lost in September and October. The CSS expects Senior Thesis students to meet with their Senior Thesis advisors regularly—normally, once weekly when classes are in session—until completion. The attached "CSS Senior Year Program" document details the events and deadlines that accompany a Senior Thesis. You are personally responsible for meeting these deadlines. Please remember that you have to add a Thesis Tutorial during Drop/Add at the start of each semester (CSS 409 in the Fall and CSS 410 in the Spring). See Richie Adelstein’s piece on “Thinking about Theses” attached in the document called “CSS Senior Thesis Guidelines, 2017-2018”.

Senior Thesis Proposal: This should contain (1) the tentative title of the proposed Senior Thesis; (2) the name of the Senior Thesis advisor; and (3) a brief statement of the central problem of the Senior Thesis and the general approach the student plans to employ. The proposal should be 2 pages. Please email an updated Senior Thesis Proposal to the CSS Administrative Assistant as an attached file no later than Wednesday, September 6th at 2:00 p.m.

Senior Essay:  A Senior Essay consisting of a set of courses and a research paper may be completed through an individual research tutorial, or, with prior approval of the relevant instructor and the CSS Co-Chairs, as part of the requirement of an advanced seminar (usually in a social science or related discipline) that culminates in a long research paper and a 15-minute presentation at a CSS Monday Lunch reserved for these presentations. Senior Essays can be completed either in the Fall or the Spring. You must enroll in an individual Tutorial (CSS 401 in the Fall,or CSS 402 in the Spring), with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise your Senior Essay.

Senior Essay Proposal: The Senior Essay must have a coherent theme and plan. Such an essay is constructed of elements of coursework and/or independent study. It should include a substantial amount of critical writing that brings out the scope and coherence of the project; this normally takes the form of an individual research tutorial. Your Senior Essay proposal should list the relevant course(s) to be taken and the general nature of the writing to be done. It should present a short (2-page) statement on the focus of the Senior Essay and the relationship between the written work and the course(s). Include the name of your Senior Essay advisor.

For Senior Essays being completed in the Fall Semester, the proposal must be e-mailed to the CSS Administrative Assistant as an attached file no later than Wednesday, September 6th, at 2:00 p.m. For Senior Essays being completed in the Spring Semester, a preliminary proposal must still be e-mailed to the CSS Administrative Assistant by Wednesday, September 6th at 2:00 p.m., and the final proposal (including the name of the advisor) by Monday, January 29th at 2:00 p.m. All Senior Essays must be approved by the CSS Co-Chairs.

Senior Thesis and Fall Senior Essay Workshops
Beginning on Tuesday, November 7th, through Thursday, November 16th, a series of evening Senior Thesis and Senior Essay Workshops will be held. Each student will make a brief presentation of her or his Senior Thesis Proposal or Fall Senior Essay Proposal, expanding on the workshop paper that will be distributed in advance to all interested participants. Senior Thesis and Fall Senior Essay workshop papers are due to CSS Administrative Assistant as e-mail attachments by Thursday, November 2nd. The Senior Thesis Workshop Paper, 5-7 pages in length, should provide: (1) a detailed statement of the problem to be examined; together with (2) an explanation of its significance; (3) an account of the proposed methods of inquiry; (4) and it should also describe the research materials to be used and give a capsule bibliography.

The CSS Co-Chairs, the student's Senior Thesis/Essay advisor, and all CSS Seniors attend the Workshops. Other CSS Tutors, interested faculty, and students are encouraged to participate. The Workshops are designed to inform the CSS community about the Senior Thesis and Senior Essay, to stimulate interdisciplinary critique and defense of the proposal, and to provide the Senior Thesis/Essay Writer with wide-ranging advice at an early stage. These Workshops have proved extremely useful to everyone involved.

All Fall Senior Essay students will give a presentation at these Workshops.

All Spring Senior Essay students will give a presentation at a Workshop in the Spring.

 Attendance at these Workshops is mandatory for ALL Seniors.

Important Senior Year Deadlines: 

  • Wednesday, September 6:  An updated Senior Thesis or Senior Essay Proposal is due by email to Martha. The proposal should be 2 pages and should contain the following information:
    • Whether you are doing a Senior Thesis or a Senior Essay. If a Senior Essay, the semester you will be doing the Senior Essay (Fall or Spring).
    • The name of your Senior Thesis or Senior Essay advisor.
    • The tentative title of your Senior Thesis or Senior Essay.
    • Brief description of your research to date and expected research.
    • Also:
      • If you are doing a Senior Thesis, you must enroll in CSS 409 for the Fall Semester.
      • If you are doing a Fall Senior Essay, you must enroll in CSS 401 for the Fall Semester.

  • Thursday, November 2: Senior Thesis and Fall Senior Essay Workshop Papers are due to the CSS Administrative Assistant by e-mail attachment.
  • Tuesday, November 7-Thursday, November 16: Senior Thesis and Fall Senior Essay Workshops will take place.
  • Friday, December 1: A rough draft of a substantial portion of the Senior Thesis (probably one full chapter) should be ready for initial evaluation by your Senior Thesis advisor.
  • Friday, December 8: Fall Senior Essays are due to Senior Essay advisor and to the CSS Administrative Assistant by email attachment.
  • Thursday, January 25: A second substantial portion of Senior Thesis draft (usually a second chapter) must be submitted to your advisor. It should be accompanied by outlines of the remainder of the Senior Thesis, and a brief statement of the research (if any) that remains to be done. At this time the Co-Chairs and the Senior Thesis advisor evaluate whether or not the Senior Thesis is progressing satisfactorily. If the progress made to date does not point to success, the student will switch to a Senior Essay (see the “CSS Senior Thesis Guidelines” document, attached).
  • Monday, January 29: Spring Semester Senior Essay proposals are due to the CSS Administrative Assistant by e-mail.
  • Wednesday, February 7: By this date:
    • If you are doing a Senior Thesis, you must enroll in CSS 410 for the Spring Semester.
    • If you are doing a Spring Senior Essay, you must enroll in CSS 402 for the Spring Semester.

  • Wednesday, April 18:  Senior Theses are due at Honors College by 4:00 p.m., to be electronically submitted through the Student Portal.
  • Wednesday, May 9: Spring Semester Senior Essays are due to Senior Essay advisors and to the CSS Administrative Assistant by email attachment. This includes Senior Essays from students who began a Senior Thesis but opted to complete it as a Senior Essay instead.

You are personally responsible for meeting these deadlines.

Good Luck!

Printable Senior Year Program

Summer Letter