Honors in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Qualified students in Medieval and Renaissance Studies may elect to substitute for the Senior Thesis (MRST 473) a more in depth two-semester Senior Honors Thesis (MRST 493) written over the Fall and Winter terms. Such students earn a Bachelor of Arts degree "with Honors in Medieval and Renaissance Studies." The thesis should be based on individual research devoted to a specialized topic of the student's own devising dealing with issues pertinent to Medieval and Renaissance studies. The focus of the thesis should coincide with the area of study in which the student has done the most work and should be grounded in interdisciplinary themes. Research should be carried out and the thesis written under the supervision of a faculty advisor and at least one second reader.
Prerequisite: Students must have a 3.33 grade point average within the major or permission of the MRST Program Committee at the time they submit their thesis proposal in the Winter term of their junior year. They must maintain this average over the course of their senior year.
Thesis advisor and second reader(s): Well in advance of registering for MRST 493 students should identify a faculty member willing to supervise their thesis and at least one other faculty member, preferably from another department, willing to serve as the second reader(s) of the thesis.
Thesis proposal: Prior to registering for MRST 493, students should develop with their thesis advisor and submit to the MRST Program Committee for approval a 2-3 page proposal briefly explaining the topic they intend to study, indicating some of the essential primary and secondary sources they will be considering, and identifying the faculty who have agreed to serve as advisor and second reader(s) of the thesis.
Research and writing: Students normally devote most of the Fall term to conducting research on their thesis, and the Winter term to writing. If possible, they may begin research in the preceding summer. As early as possible students and their advisors should agree on a rough schedule of meetings to discuss the progress of research and a timetable for the submission of drafts and final chapters.
The Thesis: Senior theses are normally 45-65 pages long and, besides the title page and table of contents, may include a list of illustrations (if appropriate), acknowledgements, an introduction, three or four chapters, a conclusion, and a bibliography divided into primary and secondary sources. Details
Submission of the thesis: The thesis will be due at the end of the Winter term. Once it has been defended, corrections may be entered and fair copies should be provided, printed on quality bond paper and bound, to the director, second reader(s) and the Head of the Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. An unbound copy should be provided to the Special Collections division of the Leyburn Library.
Defense: A defense of the thesis will be held in the first week of Spring term. Normally the defense will consist of an extended conversation between the student, the advisor, and the second reader(s) concerning the research, methods, assumptions and conclusions of the thesis. Students commonly make a public presentation of the results of their work to the MRST community in a forum such as an MRST luncheon.
Grading and Honors: At the end of the defense, the advisor and second reader(s) will deliberate on a final grade for the thesis, which will be applied to the preceding Fall and Winter terms. The thesis must merit at least a 3.5 average for the two preceding terms. In the event that it does not, the six credits for the preceding two terms of MRST 493 will be reassigned as six credits of MRST 473.
Honors Thesis Details: The title page should be unnumbered. The title of the thesis should appear a third of the way down the page. Below this should be written: A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Below this should appear the author's name, our institution, and the date the thesis was submitted. In the lower right hand corner the names of the thesis supervisor and the second reader(s) should be listed with a line above each upon which they may sign their approval of the thesis.
The thesis should be printed with normal margins of at least one inch in Times New Roman 11-point or comparable type. Front matter (title through acknowledgements) should be paginated in Roman numerals. The pages from the introduction onwards should be in Arabic numerals. Notes should be at the bottom of pages. Text and citations should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style as summarized in Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference (Boston, New York: Bedford /St. Martin's, latest edition).