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Senior Thesis

Content Guidelines

There are three basic requirements for the content of the thesis: it should be a classics thesis, have a language component, and be or include a research project.   The Classics aspect means that the thesis emerges from your work in Greco-Roman antiquity. The language aspect means that you quote and analyze text in original Latin or Greek. Finally, the “research” aspect means that the thesis must demonstrate that you have a knowledge of secondary material relating to the project. That is, through references in the body of the text and in the bibliography, you must show that you have examined the ideas of the important interpretations and commentaries on the works at issue in the thesis.

Thesis Preparation Timeline

By the end of block 7 junior year students must select a potential advisor and discuss a topic. Faculty advisor will review thesis assessment rubric with the student.

 Week 1 block 8 junior year students will formally present their topic at the Classics (or CHP) senior thesis presentation.

 By week 1 of block 1 senior year students should have a bibliography for their topic which should be circulated to all department faculty members.

 Seniors should take 1 thesis block in the fall of their senior year, as scheduled by the department (typically block 1 or 2). In this block the following schedule should be:

  • by the end of week 1 outline for the thesis as a whole
  • by the end of week 2 a complete, annotated bibliography
  • by the end of the block a draft of the thesis, or a substantial portion as determined by the thesis advisor

Seniors should take their second thesis block in block 5 of their senior year. In this block the following schedule should be:

  • by the end of week 2 an initial final draft should be submitted to the thesis advisor.
  • by the end of the block a final version should be submitted to all department faculty for approval.[1]


Week 1 block 8 students present thesis to faculty and Classics dept. students.

[1] In blocks 6 and 7 students should have completed their theses and are expected to take additional coursework; only thesis revisions recommended by other Classics dept faculty should be done during this time.


In your first thesis block, you will be graded on the quality and consistency of work. This means following deadlines, meeting with your advisor and/or the faculty member coordinating that block with preparation completed. In your second block, you will be graded on the thesis itself (please see the thesis guidelines and assessment rubric, and if you have any questions, just ask!).

Senior Thesis Rubric, Colorado College Classics Dept.






Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Rationale/ Motivation

no clear rationale or a weak rationale for the project

some rationale presented, begins to motivate the work

provides and discusses a suitable rationale

persuasive and creative rationale

Scope/Dealing with Complexity in Framing a Topic

frames topic/complex questions as simple ones

invests topic/question with some complexity, may over-simplify or over-extend

reasonable balance between focus and complexity

frames the topic with a full appreciation of its complexity while retaining appropriate focus

Approach/ Methodology/ Context

not clear what was done or why, or an inappropriate method

approach is generally appropriate and properly executed

clearly described and justified, well-chosen and appropriate, and well-executed

creative and sophisticated methods

Scholarly Context

author does not demonstrate awareness of the scholarly literature, may over-rely on too few sources

author demonstrates a reasonable awareness of the literature

author demonstrates broad awareness and situates own work within the literature

author situates his work and makes a contribution to the field, or identifies a new direction for investigation


does not take a clear or defensible position or draw a clear conclusion

states and/or critiques a position that may already be in the literature

thoroughly and effectively supports, tests, extends, or critiques a position that may already be in the literature

develops a clear and defensible position of his/her own, draws a significant conclusion


weak, invalid, or no argument, perhaps a simple assertion

some arguments valid and well supported, some not

main arguments valid, systematic, and well supported

arguments both well supported and situated beside other scholarly explanations

Use of Evidence

draws on little or no evidence, mostly relies on assertions or opinions, or evidence not clearly presented

some appropriate use of evidence but uneven

feasible evidence appropriately selected and not over-interpreted

fully exploits the richness of the evidence/ideas, and is sufficiently persuasive

Insight, Seeing Patterns and Connections

treats related ideas or data as unrelated, or draws weak or simplistic connections

begins to establish connections and perceive implications of the material

brings together related data or ideas in productive ways, thoroughly discusses implications of material

develops insightful connections and patterns that require intellectual creativity


Close reading of ancient texts

little or no evidence of close reading

demonstrates basic knowledge of text and some interpretation

shows clear interpretation of text and well chosen selections

provides original, creative and sophisticated reading of selected text











Writing Mechanics





grammar and spelling, usage

significantly impairs readability

frequent or serious errors

some minor errors

virtually no errors


needs significant reorganization

structure is of inconsistent quality, may have choppy transitions and/or redundancies or disconnections

structure supports the argument, clearly ordered sections fit together well

structure enhances the argument, strong sections and seamless flow

clarity, style, readability (as appropriate to genre and discipline)

gets in the way of reading for content

beginning to be comfortable with appropriate conventions, style is inconsistent or uneven

effective prose style, follows relevant scholarly conventions, emergence of voice

 mastery of the genre, including elegant style, established voice

translation of ancient text

Passages are un-translated and/or do not reflect the contents of the ancient text being discussed

translations are inconsistent, capturing elements of the ancient text, without reflecting linguistic and thematic nuances

translations provide a decent reflection of the ancient text, though may have some lack of clarity or fail to capture the entire sense of the ancient text

translations are smooth and accurately reflect the ancient text, illuminating nuances of the ancient language


Presentation Guidelines

The default thesis is an academic paper of roughly 30-50 pages, double-spaced (9000-15,000 words). Classics students have also submitted creative theses: translations with annotation, two of them set in type and printed at The Press at Colorado College, where the research was both embodied in the translation itself and represented by additional annotation; scenes from classical drama, directed based on research which was also summarized in “director’s notes.”

Technical requirements:


  • the thesis should be a minimum of 25 pages; Classics theses are generally 9000-15,000 words.


  • Margins: 1" top, bottom, and right; 1.5" left.


  • Font: Times New Roman; Font size: 12


  • Last name and page number on the top right corner.  No number on the first page (although it is counted as 1); no number on title page (it is not counted).


  • Title page: layout at your discretion. However, do not use fancy or large fonts; stay within the margin limitations; and include the following information: Name, title, class (i.e. May 2011), and the words Senior Thesis in Classics, The Colorado College.


  • Use either footnotes or endnotes, but not both (follow the preference of your thesis advisor). Notes should be substantive.  A full bibliography is required. Include name and page number only (no commas or little p's). If you are using more than one source by the same author, be sure to include the date of the work. Otherwise, follow the discretion of your advisor to see if using the author's name alone is sufficient. 


  • Quotations that are longer than four lines should always be separated from the text and indented an inch. Poetry should be indented and left justified, not centered. These quotations do not need quotation marks and the punctuation comes before the parenthetical note.


  • Bibliography:  Include either list of "Works Cited" or "Works Consulted" at your discretion.  If you want, you may also want to separate them and include both.  Anything cited must be included. The Writing Center resources page gives you links to user-friendly guides to APA (that’s Psychological), Chicago and MLA (that’s Modern Languages) style for citations and bibliography. Follow the preference of your advisor.


  • Greek: You may transliterate words or short (word-like) phrases: hubris, hoi polloi (italicized or not). Longer quotes in your paragraphs or indented should be in Greek with accents and breathings. This can’t be done with the “insert symbol” menu in MS Word and Times New Roman font. But you can set your word processor up to type in Greek fairly easily, both in Mac OS X and in Windows. Useful page at Washington University:
    • Mac users can just follow the advice there, including good screenshots showing the setting up of the Unicode Greek that comes with the system. 
    • An alternative that some CC students have preferred is the SophoKeys converter  that lets you type in the TLG's longtime standard Beta Code (convenient at the upper right of the Perseus Search Tools page  and have your text converted by the program into Greek font. 
    • Windows 7 (or later) users will need more up-to-date instructions for adding the Greek polytonic keyboard embedded in that system--generally use your regional/language settings to get to keyboards, and be sure it's polytonic because we use all the diacriticals.
    • Mac and Windows users can also buy the American Philological Association's GreekKeys  ($40; $30 with a membership) or Tavultesoft's Keyman keyboard ($48.29 with educational discount).
    • Latin texts are generally available from but be aware that these texts are not critical texts: for citation in your actual thesis, use up to date critical editions from Teubner, Oxford Classical Texts or other established series, which you should be able to find in Tutt Library or via Prospector.