A Senior Scholar proposal consists of:
- A completed application form (available electronically in Word for Windows format)
- A detailed description of the proposed project (see below)
- Letters of recommendation (forms are part of the application form)
- An up-to-date copy of your transcript (available from Registrar’s Office)
The application packet also contains copies of this year’s Calendar and the “Understandings” by which the program is governed. Please consult these to have a clear idea of what doing a project involves.
The main component of a Senior Scholar application is the detailed description of the proposed project. Since the Independent Major Committee cannot serve as the academic expert in the many fields in which Senior Scholar projects are undertaken, Senior Scholar tutors should assume primary responsibility for insuring that proposals have the components necessary for approval.
Students are required to have their proposals approved before the end of the Junior year so that they may start working on their projects during the summer. A student will have only one opportunity to submit a proposal for approval, unless the Committee asks the student for additional specific information. In that case, a student will be allowed two weeks to submit the requested information.
Prospective Senior Scholars should work very closely with their tutors to develop a proposal that includes the following:
- Detailed description of the proposed project. Proposals that are vague, overly ambitious, or incompletely planned are unlikely to be approved.
- Rationale for the proposal, including an explanation for choosing the Senior Scholar program as the best avenue for this project (i.e., as opposed to independent study, departmental honors programs, etc.). Senior Scholar projects are expected to be of exceptional quality and depth.
- The proposal will include a time structure outlining month by month activities beginning with the summer prior to the senior year and continuing through the spring presentation (including, for example, archival research, interviews, writing, etc.).
- A discussion of relevant background research and completed course work.
- A workable prediction of the outcome of the proposed project, including an account, if appropriate, of expenses that will have to be incurred and sources available to cover those expenses. (The Independent Major Committee does not fund projects.)
- A short, relevant bibliography.
- A letter from the tutor who will direct the project assessing the academic validity of the project, the capabilities of the student, and discussing any concerns that might affect a student’s progress (i.e., faculty sabbatical leaves, availability of resources, etc.). The tutor should also address why the proposed project ought to be a senior scholar project not a departmental honors thesis in their recommendation.
If the tutor is unfamiliar with the prospective Senior Scholar’s writing, a writing sample should be submitted to the tutor prior to filing an application to the program.
Projects in the arts should include a written component, which need not be a full-blown analytic paper. The mere production of a work of art, without indication of further reflection about the subject and of interaction with the literature, does not qualify as a senior scholar project.
Students who will be graduating in January are welcome to apply for the program, but should be aware that the various deadlines will need to be modified. Please contact the chair of the Independent Major Committee to discuss what changes need to be made.
The deadline for submitting Senior Scholars proposals is the second Friday in April.
Independent Major Committee Chair