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 must be submitted via email to the DUS, with your advisor and the undergraduate registrar on copy, by 5pm 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 5pm 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.


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 spring essay is due the Monday of the 3rd 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, an electronic copy should be sent to the undergraduate registrar, with the DUS and your advisor on copy. For AMST 491 in the fall term, the deadline is the Monday of the last week of classes.  For AMST 491 in the spring term, and AMST 493/494 (the full year senior essay/project), the deadline is the Monday of the 3rd to last week of undergraduate classes.  View the calendar here for dates and deadlines. Submissions of the full year senior essay/project will be delivered to the student’s advisor, a second reader, the DUS, and the undergraduate registrar by the student. 

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, click here.

Senior Seminar Colloquium: 

At the end of the spring semester, participants in the yearlong sequence 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.