You’ll start at the beginning, of course, with a good idea and a dedicated team of advisors who will help you take your initial proposal and develop it into a course of study for your senior year.
Your work will be informed by classes that have inspired you, and will reflect experiences you’ve had beyond the classroom—internships, study overseas or independent projects you’ve completed.
You’ll write. You may also create a performance piece, a composition or an exhibit, work on a mathematical proof or write a program; you might do scientific research, write a poem cycle, translate a novel, or analyze a body of text. It depends on your interests, your passions and your areas of concentration. But you will be asked to write, to reflect on your research and your process, and to articulate your ideas forcefully and with clarity.
“Senior theses here are intense. We ask a lot of the students. They design their own research project, do research and write a pretty substantial paper at the end of the day. Seeing a project that started from something small and personal and watching it grow into a really lovely piece just makes you so proud. You get to see a little idea turn into something amazing and powerful and share that experience.”-Francisca Oyogoa,
Faculty in Division of Social Studies, Bard College at Simon's Rock
It’s hard work, but it’s yours, from beginning to end. And it’s not an opportunity you’re likely to get anywhere else, except maybe grad school, which is where many Rockers head after graduation, confident in the knowledge that they can take on an in-depth, large-scale project like the thesis.
When you’re done, your book will be bound and sent to live with the rest of the theses in the Alumni Library. Row upon row of hardbound green spines, each a culmination of our BA graduates’ experiences and earned expertise—it’s quite a collection of volumes. And there’s room on the shelf for yours.
“My thesis is on preventative medicine in the United States, the policies we have and the evidence behind them. A lot of other countries have substantially better healthcare systems and preventative medicine than we do, so I was looking at ways we could incorporate that into ours. And I learned a lot, not just from the research, but about how to carry out my own research and set those deadlines.”-Sam Yarmis '10
Seniors may elect to prepare a create a short visual summary of their thesis project, which will be on display for the academic year.