The Senior Project

John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667, 1674) in the Doves Press edition of 1902As a senior English major, working in consultation with a faculty member in the department, you will produce a written senior project. It will be either a long paper exploring a particular author or subject in depth, or a manuscript of creative writing. As a rule, senior projects are written during the January term of the senior year, though reading and research begin at an earlier date.

Successful senior projects in literature generally grow out of strong student interest in an author, topic or genre and are fueled by student curiosity to know and understand more about that subject. The creative writing project grows out of the student's work in poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction, usually done in courses and workshops taken for the Concentration in Creative Writing.

In the spring of the junior year, the student begins working with a faculty advisor to agree upon and broadly define the project. Over the summer, the student reads intensively in the subject area and begins to develop more specific ideas.

In the fall of the senior year, the student works with the advisor to develop a more focused and specific proposal, including a thesis to be demonstrated and a list of primary and secondary sources. This proposal is then reviewed by a departmental committee and in some cases revised and clarified. The student then writes the senior project under the direct guidance of the advisor, preferably during January term.

Finally, the student participates in a conference on the paper with the advisor and another department faculty member, known as the second reader. The grade for the project is assigned by the advisor in consultation with the second reader.