Senior Essay Requirement

Prospectus and Signed Application Form:  The prospectus should be a one- to two-page document describing the aims and scope of the project and explaining the methods/plans of research to be used. The prospectus should also include a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary resources. The departmental application form (which can be downloaded below) must be completed by you and signed by your faculty advisor. Your signed application form and attached prospectus are to be submitted to the American studies office by 4 pm on the final day of registration for the term. For example, if registration for the fall semester closes on September 15th, then your signed prospectus form is due by 4 pm on September 15th.  For those students enrolled in the intensive yearlong course, the form need only be completed once. Remember, you cannot register for the course without submitting a signed prospectus form by the stated date, unless you receive permission to do so from the DUS.

Annotated bibliography: This document should list a number of secondary sources that will play an important role in your own writing. For annotations, you should include summaries of how each work’s argument or content intersects with your proposed project, and the ways in which you expect to make use of it. Rather than randomly adding in any and all potential citations with brief summaries in the style of a book report, take time to assemble a thoughtful overview of the main pieces of scholarship with which you expect to engage. This document is for your own future use; thus, you may organize and assemble it how you please—as long as you demonstrate a relatively thorough and intelligent overview of sources that you’ve examined and expect to rely upon in a substantial way.  Some students find it useful to write a bibliographic essay, which becomes the foundation of a literature review for their longer work. Speak with your advisor about what would be best for you.

Drafts: For yearlong participants, you are required to submit 15-page installments of your essay.  Spring and fall term students will be required to submit a full draft at least three weeks before the deadline for the final manuscript (see dates above). You may still have gaps that you need to fill in, but this draft should demonstrate that you have substantially completed your research, organizing, and drafting stages and that you are moving into final-revisions mode. Immediately after submitting the full draft, you should set up an appointment with your faculty advisor to discuss what revisions this draft will require before final submission. The final submission of the yearlong senior essay and the spring essay is the Monday of the 2nd to last week of classes. 

Final essay: Students enrolled in a one-semester version of the process must submit a manuscript of 30 pages, while students in the yearlong version must submit a manuscript of 60 pages. For submission, two (2) bound copies (the least expensive method of binding at TYCO or Docuprint & Imaging, for example, is just fine) must be delivered to the American studies undergraduate office (HGS 232) by 4 pm on the day of the deadline.  The deadline is the Monday of the last week of undergraduate classes. These will go to the student’s advisor and a second reader.  If you have more than one advisor, make sure you submit enough bound copies so that your advisors and the outside reader will each have one.  In addition, an electronic copy of the essay (PDF preferred) must be submitted by the same deadline to American Studies Undergraduate Registrar Jean Cherniavsky for inclusion in the departmental archive.

The format of the final essay should be as follows:  double-spaced with 1-inch margins in a font such as Times New Roman 11-point or Garamond 12-point.  It should include a title page with your name, the title of your work, your advisor’s name, and whether your essay was written for the fall, spring, or intensive yearlong course.  Page numbers should be placed in the bottom center of the page.  Consult with your advisor regarding citation style and placement of illustrations.  If no preference is specified, use the Chicago style of citation with endnotes at the back of the text.  Place illustrations within the text rather than in a separate folio.  For more information on citation styles see:  http://writing.yalecollege.yale.edu/advice-students/using-sources/principles-citing-sources/why-are-there-different-citation-styles.

Senior Seminar Colloquium 

At the end of the spring semester, you will be expected to participate in the American Studies Senior Project Colloquium.  You will present your work to your colleagues and faculty members, delivering a short presentation and fielding questions.