Senior Thesis Guidelines

Definition and Purpose of the Senior Thesis

The honors thesis is the product of artistic and scholarly work of high academic quality. The character of the work leading to the honors thesis is expected to be at a higher level than normal course work and involves dedicated initiative, independence, organization, and advanced planning by the student. The final thesis should demonstrate excellence, originality, and creativity.

Honors thesis work carries eight credits and ordinarily involves two sequential courses of four semester credit hours each, directed by a faculty adviser and two other committee members (at least one from outside the department), selected by the student. The adviser and the thesis subject are ordinarily in the student's major field.

Eligibility for the Senior Thesis

To qualify for an honors thesis, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in dance courses and 3.25 over all. They should also be making normal progress towards completion of all requirements for the dance major.

In addition to the ordinary course registration, honors thesis registration entails:

  1. The completion of an honors project proposal, to be submitted to the chair of the Dance department by March 1st of the spring semester of the student's junior year. All faculty in the Dance department must approve the project proposal.
  2. The agreement of a faculty member in the Dance department to oversee and advise all aspects of the honors thesis. In addition to the thesis adviser, the student is required to invite two additional faculty members to serve on the thesis committee, one of whom should be from outside the department.

Thesis Options in Dance

  1. Theory/Research
    The most important components of an honors thesis in dance theory are the quality of the research, the originality of the thinking, the ability to link the work to theoretical issues of importance in the field, and the quality of the writing. The theory/research thesis should be at least 50 pages in length.
  2. Original Choreography
    Students proposing a choreographic thesis must have taken, as prerequisites before their senior year, three levels of composition courses. This thesis option entails a lengthy choreographic process, with in-depth experimentation and artistic research throughout the summer and fall of the senior year, culminating in a presentation of a final choreographic work in March of the senior year. The project might include one longer, or several shorter, new works of choreography. The written component, reflecting on the creative process, should be at least 20 pages in length.

Thesis Project Proposal Guidelines

Prepare a written outline (3-5 pgs) of your proposed project covering the
points listed below. Designate if your thesis is in choreography or theory.

  1. Description of the project, including central ideas, issues and research goals.
  2. Description of the relevant background to this project: courses, research, special; skills and interests, previous independent work in the field, and so forth.
  3. Proposed methods of research and experimentation.
  4. Preliminary list of artists, faculty and other resources to guide the research
  5. Bibliography of other key research resources developed to date (readings, videos, etc.)
  6. Proposed timetable
  7. Proposed title

Responsibility of the Student in Preparing the Thesis

It is the responsibility of the student to independently pursue the goals described in her project proposal and to arrange for meetings with her adviser and committee members. The faculty adviser and student will work out a time schedule at the beginning of the project to include meetings with adviser, showing dates of choreography (if applicable), final performance dates and a due date for the first submission of the written portion of the thesis. It is the student's responsibility to arrange any necessary meetings of the thesis committee during the course of the thesis work, including the final scheduling of the oral defense.

Suggested Time Line

Spring Semester of Junior Year

  • Speak with adviser about eligibility and possible focus for the project
  • Assemble thesis committee (3 faculty members; one from another academic department)
  • Develop and complete honors project proposal and submit to the Dance department chair
  • Obtain departmental approval Solicit summer research guidance from adviser and committee.

Summer of Junior Year

  • Begin preliminary research

Fall of Senior Year

  • Meet with advisor and committee members to outline fall research plans and timeline
  • Audition for dancers and begin rehearsal process if applicable
  • Reserve studio space for rehearsal if applicable
  • Set schedule of meetings with thesis adviser and committee

Spring of Senior Year

  • Formally present choreographic thesis, typically in a March concert
  • Rough draft of the written portion of the thesis to committee chair by the first week of April
  • Draft due to thesis committee second week of April
  • Final written draft due (including dvd of choreography) first week of May
  • Defend thesis during the exam period
  • Submit copy of thesis to library