BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJOR
Senior thesis examples.
Graduating seniors in Biological Sciences have the option of submitting a senior thesis for consideration for Honors and Research Prizes . Below are some examples of particularly outstanding theses from recent years (pdf):
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY
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The Value of the Senior Thesis
Writing a senior thesis is valuable in several ways. First and foremost, the experience of writing a thesis is intellectually valuable. Students who tackle a thesis have the opportunity to do in-depth research on a question of their own choosing. For students who want bona fide exposure to all the different phases of the research process, there is no substitute for writing your own thesis. You will need to come up with a good question, figure out how to answer it, collect the necessary data, analyze it in a credible manner, and then discus your results in a compelling piece of long-form writing. Students who successfully complete a thesis will go through a uniquely rewarding intellectual experience, and their skills and capacities typically grow tremendously over the course of the two quarters. Of course, as you go through the thesis-writing process, you will have the benefit of working closely with two faculty members. In addition to receiving guidance and feedback from the Honors Coordinator, who oversees the work of all thesis-writers, you will also have the opportunity to be advised individually by a departmental faculty member with substantive or methodological expertise on your research question. The interactions that you have with faculty members regarding your thesis will be among the most intellectually rewarding in your time at Northwestern. There is a social value to writing a thesis as well. Writing your thesis will be far from a solitary experience. Majors who decide to take on a thesis join a cohort of talented, motivated students who share many of their interests and who are going through the same experience. If the opportunity to meet and bond with other sociology majors is somewhat limited in the first few years of taking courses, students who decide to write a senior thesis often find that they have the opportunity to forge strong connections with several of their fellow thesis-writers. Lastly, there is (for lack of a better phrase) a ‘professional development value” to writing a senior thesis. Students complete a thesis will have worked closely with two faculty members for two quarters, and this experience will have given these faculty members the opportunity to watch their advisees develop and grow. If you plan to attend graduate school at some point after graduating from Northwestern, you will need letters of recommendation from faculty who know you well, and the faculty who helped you complete a senior thesis will be among the faculty who know you the best.
The Department of Sociology recognizes the work of its outstanding seniors with departmental honor awards which are presented at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) Convocation. Departmental honor awards are given to those students who show outstanding scholarship in their major course of study. Nominations are submitted to the College Committee on Superior Students and Honors, which has final authority to grant the honors degree. The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Superior Students and Honors reviews students' grade point average, senior research thesis, and faculty recommendations to determine which students receive Departmental Honors.
Senior Thesis with Distinction Award
The Department has established an award program for sociology majors, which recognizes outstanding thesis in the Senior Research Seminar. Senior thesis completed in other departments that satisfy the Department's thesis requirements, such as a senior thesis in Urban Studies, may also be submitted to the Department for consideration. This award is based on each student's creative ability, persuasiveness and systematic way of doing research. Recipients are determined by the Departmental Honors committee, and are announced each spring quarter (usually end of May).
Best Senior Thesis in Sociology Award
The Department has established an award for the Best Senior Thesis in sociology. Recipients are determined by the Departmental Honors committee, and are announced each spring quarter (usually end of May).
Sociology 2022 Senior Theses
Ella Boscoe** Exploring Black-Female Entrepreneurship: Business Ownership as a Form of Agency and Cultural Empowerment
Sarah Davis* Parenting While Black: Experiences and Perceived Health Impacts of Raising Black Children in American Society
Priyanshi Katare* The Self-fulfilling Trap: Do Ratings Agencies Control Policy Outcomes
Katica Hope O'Connor* Religiosity, Voter Turnout, and Congressional Representation of Black Americans
*Thesis with Distinction
**Best Senior Thesis in Sociology Award
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Academics / Undergraduate Senior Thesis
Undergraduate students have the option to complete a senior thesis as a part of their undergraduate degree. The senior thesis is more than a big project write-up. It is documentation of an attempt to contribute new knowledge to the general understanding of some problem of computer science, together with exposition that sets the work in the context of what has come before and what might follow. In computer science, some theses involve building systems, some involve experiments and measurements, some are theoretical, some involve human subjects, some are in-depth literature reviews, some do more than one of these things, and so on.
If you are planning to complete a senior thesis, please fill out the Computer Science Undergraduate Thesis Registration form no later than Fall of senior year. This allows us to keep you updated on the senior thesis timelines, notify you of relevant events, send you instructions on submitting your thesis, and so on.
Undergraduate Honors (is an honors with thesis)
The undergraduate thesis will unify, for both McCormick and Weinberg students, what it means for students to achieve departmental honors in computer science. To be awarded honors, students must meet McCormick or Weinberg’s respective GPA and other requirements, and have submitted a thesis that is accepted by their thesis readers. While we expect many students who complete senior theses to be awarded honors, achieving honors is not a requirement for writing a senior thesis.
Undergraduate Thesis Requires a Faculty Thesis Supervisor
Senior thesis projects generally emerge from collaboration with faculty. Normally this is a Computer Science faculty member (either core or courtesy). Exceptions to the requirement that the thesis supervisor is a CS faculty member must be approved by the CS Undergraduate Research Committee. For students whose advisor is not a CS faculty member, note that at least one of your thesis readers must be a CS faculty member, and we encourage you to talk with this faculty member regularly to help ensure that your thesis is appropriately relevant for Computer Science. It’s up to you and your supervisor how frequently you meet and how engaged the supervisor is in your thesis research. However, we encourage you to meet with your supervisor at least several times during the Fall, Winter, and Spring, and to agree on deadlines for initial results, chapter outlines, drafts, etc.
Students working towards a senior thesis may enroll in a senior thesis section of CS 399 in their junior or senior year, under the supervision of their research advisor. CS 399 provides students with time in their curriculum for independent research and thesis writing. Up to four quarters of enrollment in CS 399 (for senior thesis or otherwise) can be used towards meeting the technical elective; students can enroll in 399 for additional quarters for course credit as needed.
Thesis is Evaluated by the Thesis Readers
Thesis readers must be either: (A) two Northwestern CS faculty members (core or courtesy); or (B) three readers, at least one of whom is a Northwestern CS faculty member and the others are ordinarily faculty members of Weinberg or McCormick who are generally familiar with the research area. The thesis supervisor is one of the readers. The student is responsible for finding the other reader(s), but you can talk with your supervisor for suggestions of possible readers. Exceptions to these thesis reader requirements must be approved by the CS Undergraduate Research Committee.
Thesis Should be Formatted for a General Scientific Audience
The thesis should contain an informative abstract separate from the body of the thesis. This abstract should clearly state what the contribution of the thesis is–which parts are expository, whether there are novel results, etc. We also recommend the thesis contain an introduction that contains an “Our contributions” section which explains exactly what the thesis contributed, and which sections in the thesis these are elaborated on.
Acceptance of Theses is Determined by the Readers
Acceptance decisions are recorded by a staff member and passed on to the Committee on Undergraduate Studies in Computer Science for determinations of honors (i.e., checking that the student meets the GPA requirement beyond having an accepted thesis; note again that students can still complete a senior thesis, regardless of honors).
While individual circumstances will vary, we generally expect students to begin work towards their thesis by the middle of their junior year, and for this work to continue well into senior year. Students should work with their faculty thesis advisor to identify potential readers early (e.g., during the Fall of senior year); this avoids a last-minute rush to find readers, and can help to provide other points of support and feedback during the thesis writing process.
The final version of the thesis must be turned in by April 15th for committee review. The thesis readers will have about a month and a half to complete their read (complete before Memorial Day), and for the committee on undergraduate studies to confer honors.
Thesis Reception and Award
We will organize a senior thesis presentation and reception late in Spring quarter to celebrate the seniors who wrote senior theses. We encourage all senior thesis writers to present so we can properly celebrate your work! We will also select one or more undergraduate senior theses for an award.
Accepted theses will be published as technical reports on the CS website. Instructions here .
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DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
- Honors, Awards, and Research
- Senior Thesis Seminar
Current Thesis Students
A thesis is an historical analysis based on a student’s individual research using primary materials that makes some original contribution to the field. The variety of methods and approaches currently used in the discipline of history means that no single type of thesis constitutes a model. The originality of the thesis may lie in its explication of untapped sources, its reinterpretations of familiar sources, its new synthesis of existing interpretations, or some other novelty. A thesis will almost invariably include: 1) an introduction to set out the problem, state the argument, limit the scope of the inquiry, and position the thesis in relation to the current state of historical opinion on the topic, 2) a set of chapters to present and analyze the relevant evidence, and 3) a conclusion to summarize the findings and suggest future avenues of research. A thesis is typically 40-60 pages in length including a thorough bibliography.
The final thesis is due in early May to allow your faculty adviser and seminar instructor time to read and review your work in advance of the mid-May deadline for submitting honors recommendations to the College.
Authors must submit three bound copies of their thesis: one for his or her advisor, one for the 398 instructor, and one for the department’s files. Costs incurred for printing shall be borne by the student. An additional digital copy must also be submitted to the Undergraduate Coordinator at the same time.
The submitted thesis must include a title page, acknowledgments, a one-page summary with five keywords, the core text, footnotes, and a bibliography. The thesis must be carefully proofread and the references prepared carefully and in a consistent style.
Recommendation for Honors
Completion of the 398 seminar does not assure the granting of Honors. The Undergraduate Awards Committee makes a recommendation on Honors, and its recommendation is subject to approval by the WCAS Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence. The department uses the following criteria in its deliberations:
- Two readers of the thesis must judge it to be of very high quality. One will be the faculty advisor; the other is the instructor of the senior thesis seminar. In all cases, both readers must submit a written evaluation of the thesis, explaining their recommendation for (or against) the granting of Honors, and commenting on the originality and quality of the work. In rare cases where there is a difference of opinion the Director of Undergraduate Studies will read and report on the thesis as well.
- The candidate should have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in history courses.
- The candidate should have a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall.
- Exceptions will be made to the minimum GPA requirement in items 2 and 3 if the thesis is judged to be of extraordinarily high quality.
If the department recommends Honors, the candidate’s name is forwarded to the WCAS Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence, which makes the final determination of honors. Be advised that there have been cases in which the department has recommended Honors but the College has declined to confer Honors.
Undergraduate Research Support Grants
The History Department provides eligible students with up to $250 to help support research undertaken as part of the senior Honors Thesis program.
In order to be eligible for an Undergraduate Research Support Grant from the History Department, students must:
- Be writing a senior thesis in the History department;
- Have already applied for and been granted an Academic Year research grant from either the Office of Undergraduate Research or the College of Arts and Sciences;
- Have documented expenses above and beyond those covered by the AY grant
In order to apply for funds, students should submit the following to the Director of Undergraduate Studies:
- The original proposal and budget provided for the Academic Year grant
- Receipts demonstrating that the student's costs went beyond the funds provided by the AY grant
Undergraduate Research Support Grants will be assessed on a rolling basis between October and May of each academic year.
The Johnston Prize
The Grace Douglas Johnston prize is awarded to the student whose honors thesis is judged to be of the highest quality. The award is made by the department’s Undergraduate Awards Committee.
Senior Thesis Examples: Biological Sciences Major - Northwestern University Home Research Senior Thesis Examples Senior Thesis Examples Senior Thesis Examples Graduating seniors in Biological Sciences have the option of submitting a senior thesis for consideration for Honors and Research Prizes .
Senior thesis projects generally emerge from collaboration with faculty. Normally this is a Computer Science faculty member (either core or courtesy). Exceptions to the requirement that the thesis supervisor is a CS faculty member must be approved by the CS Undergraduate Research Committee.
"Writing a senior thesis was the best and most rewarding way to cap off my academic career at Northwestern. It's one of the rare undergraduate opportunities in which you can seriously engage with scholarship and actually contribute to it, where you can create something that is both deeply-researched and original.
Senior Thesis Seminar "Writing a senior thesis was the best and most rewarding way to cap off my academic career at Northwestern. It's one of the rare undergraduate opportunities in which you can seriously engage with scholarship and actually contribute to it, where you can create something that is both deeply-researched and original.
The History Department provides eligible students with up to $250 to help support research undertaken as part of the senior Honors Thesis program. In order to be eligible for an Undergraduate Research Support Grant from the History Department, students must: Be writing a senior thesis in the History department;