What Is the Senior Thesis?
The senior thesis is designed to be the culminating experience of a student’s career at South Carolina Honors College. It is a chance for students to ask and answer meaningful questions about the natural world, social or political systems, history and culture, artistic expression, the creative process, or the application of knowledge to specific challenges. Students are free to choose their thesis topics and may elect to write a thesis or complete a project outside their majors. Students who must complete a thesis or capstone project related to their major course of study (e.g., students in the College of Engineering and Computing) will submit this project for their Honors thesis.
Students can opt to complete either a research-based or project-based thesis:
A traditional research thesis is an extended original project designed to answer a question of interest to the student. Some common research aims might include interpreting and comparing primary texts; constructing and testing models that reflect theories of human behavior, social or political systems, or the natural world; making human action, symbols and communication intelligible at the individual and collective levels; exploring how social meanings are constructed; and evaluating current practices and suggesting more effective ones (see Lipson’s How to Write a BA Thesis, 2018).
A project-based thesis might be a creative endeavor, such as original artwork, performance, novella or volume of poetry. Alternatively, students might pursue an applied project, such as developing a business plan, an app, informational pieces for a community organization, a podcast series or a video game, among others.
Benefits of Completing a Senior Thesis
Whether students complete a research-based thesis or a creative or applied project, we believe engaging in this type of work helps students develop an array of skills, many of which are highly valued by employers. These skills include creative and critical thinking, analysis and interpretation, complex problem solving, written communication, effective use of information and the ability to integrate and apply knowledge across contexts.
Examples of Recent Thesis Projects
|Research projects||Creative or applied projects|
|Unlikely Heroes: Self-reflexivity, Comedy, and Reflective Nostalgia in Post-Unification German Film||Using Podcasts to Bring National Estuarine Research Reserves into the Classroom for Grades 6-12|
|Role of a Novel Long Non-Coding RNA in Myeloid Leukemia||L'Hôtel de la méfiance: Study and Practice of the Grand-Guignol Theatre Tradition (French play/performance)|
|Tracking Changes in Montane Butterfly Populations Through the Lens of Climate Change||The Witch in the Woods: A Baba Yaga Story|
|A Social Media Sentiment Analysis on Female Contraceptive Options||The Art of Delivery in Stand-Up Comedy: How the Intangible Makes the Tangible Funny|
|Language Development Among Spanish-English Speaking Kindergarten Students: Comparing Scores Before and After the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic||Short Stories: The Hidden Reality About the Occupation of Palestine|
|Nourish: Reflections on Womanhood, Motherhood, and the Active Role of Women in Nourishing Themselves and their Communities||“Liberté Égalité Fraternité” — The Humanity of the French Revolution (tabletop, role playing game)|