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Senior Project Guidelines (RM499)

The Senior Project gives students a unique opportunity to bring their own insight into their research and be the culminating academic accomplishment of their major in REMS. It requires sustained long-term commitment. The Block Plan can be intense and it is important to find time for sustained senior project work. Writing requires careful planning and a responsible dedication to the project. Students are recommended to start early and work steadily over the senior year.

How to Start

(a) Think about the topics that really interested you in your classes.

(b) Check out the faculty’s research interests and see who works in areas similar to your interests. If you are not sure, ask your advisor. Developing the project requires collaboration. You cannot plan the whole project without discussing it with the faculty.

(c) Meet with faculty members.

  • Tell them what you’re interested in and ask how to develop your interest into a project they can meaningfully advise. You should approach the professors as if this were an interview situation. Be willing to take advice from the professor to find a research topic.
  • Discuss potential timeline for your research in the senior year (e.g., dedicated Senior Project block for intensive writing, research plan during fall and spring semester while taking other courses)

(d) Take notes and write down what you talked about in the meetings.

(e) Complete the senior project proposal form. You will be asked to write about the idea(s) or area(s) of interest you have for your senior project, and you have to identify at least two professors. Depending on faculty availability and the number of senior projects each year, the program will strive to match your senior project assignment to one of your identified faculty members, but any REMS professor could potentially be your advisor.

Writing Requires Revision

For writing, you will need several drafts—this is inherent in the writing process, and is something students on the block plan seldom experience. You need to give yourself and the professor adequate time to complete these revisions. Good writing reflects good, clear thinking, and it takes time. Schedule drafts of your senior project with your professor to stay on track.


Format and Length

All senior project must be in a paper written according to the guidelines or conventions of the academic discipline/interdisciplinary field of the chosen topic. At the start of the senior project, the student should discuss extensively with the faculty advisor the goals, research questions, methodology(ies), research strategy, expected length, and number and types of sources.

The Senior Project must represent new and original work, but it may grow out of previous research completed in courses taken by the student. Students who are doing a critical literature review on a theoretical level will have a project that is quite different in structure from students who are engaged in a historiographical and theoretical debate that is developed from broad reading in monographs and journals, and yet different from the students conducting empirical research designed to describe a phenomena, or the students

 

The Research and Writing Process

Junior year

Block 7: Research potential senior project topics and advisors.

Beginning of block 8: Senior Project application due.

End of block 8: Announcement of Senior Project advisor-student match.

Senior year

Blocks 1-6:

Research and writing, even when taking other classes. Regular consultations with your project faculty advisor.

A dedicated RM499 Senior Project block taken in a block that is agreed upon with your project faculty advisor. Dedicated time for writing and revisions.

(highly recommended) Thesis research adjunct (GS399, Blocks 3-4), Thesis writing bootcamp GS399, half block), Thesis writing adjunct (GS399, Blocks 5-6).

First Monday of Block 7: Complete senior project due for grading.

Block 8: Presentation to REMS faculty and students.