Senior Thesis Guidelines

Dear Senior English Majors doing b-term theses:

Congratulations on nearing completion of your senior project (the thesis).

We join your faculty tutor in encouraging you to make certain that your thesis represents your best work in both its substance and form (see below). The deadline for filing your thesis is no later than 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The thesis can be filed as either a Microsoft Word or PDF document. You must submit an electronic copy by email to both your thesis advisor and to Denise LaForgue.

Electronic copies of all theses are filed in the archives of Vassar Libraries Special Collections. The Vassar College Library Repository Submission Guidelines & FAQ will explain the process of submitting your thesis for inclusion in the library's institutional repository.  Any questions regarding this can be addressed to Sharyn Cadogan in the Vassar College Library.

Extensions can be granted only in exceptional circumstances and require the recommendation of your senior project tutor and the Chair of the Department.

  1. The text of your thesis, exclusive of bibliography, should contain a minimum of 10,000 words (the equivalent of 40 typed pages).
  2. You should title the electronic document with your name, the name of your tutor, and the academic term, for example JDoeGraham21b.doc or JDoeGraham21b.pdf.
  3. Your thesis must contain a title page listing your name, the name of your tutor, and the academic term. There is no need to create a hard copy of your thesis unless your thesis advisor requests a printed copy. No need to buy an expensive binder for your thesis in any case.
  4. You should include a bibliography citing all books, articles, URLs and media used in your paper, but you need not have a table of contents.
  5. Double-space the text, and single-space and indent lengthy quotations. Quotation marks are not needed for single spaced quotations.
  6. Margins on all sides, including the bottom, must be one inch. Number pages after the first.
  7. Footnotes are not always necessary, but wherever reference is needed, a convenient and consistent system (footnoting or end-noting) is essential. Talk over the needs of your particular paper with your tutor.
  8. Verify quotations—capitals, punctuation, spelling, alignment of verse, etc.—with care. Check page and line references, and indicate ellipses and omissions in the conventional way. Cite URLs using standard scholarly formats.
  9. Do not rely upon your word processor/spellchecker for spelling or matters of grammar and usage such as the division of words into syllables, current practice in punctuation, or compounds. Refer to a standard dictionary and scholarly usage guide as well. Whatever forms you adopt, keep them consistent throughout your thesis. You alone are responsible for proof-reading the final copy carefully.
  10. Remember that you must not only acknowledge direct quotations from other writers but also ideas, structure, or language taken from them as well. On questions of proper attribution, consult Originality and Attribution: A guide for student writers at Vassar College, available through the English Department office or your tutor.

Best wishes,

Wendy Graham, Chair