The Senior Honors Research program was established in 1930 and was the first such program in a Virginia college or university. The program is intended to encourage students to conduct independent scholarship at a level well beyond the ordinary demands of a classroom course. The results of a student’s successful completion of the program are increased learning in a subject area of special interest, improvements in the student’s abilities to conduct academic scholarship and to write about the work, the presentation of a substantial paper on that scholarship, the addition of that paper to the Library’s permanent collection, and an enhancement of his or her application to graduate school or for immediate post-graduation employment. Students who successfully complete the program are publicly recognized at graduation and acknowledged within their transcripts for their exceptional academic achievement.
The Senior Thesis Program is undertaken by motivated students who wish to pursue their scholarship interests outside of the classroom. Completion of the project requires that students enroll in two consecutive 3-credit courses, typically with the second of those courses within their senior year.
To be eligible to register for the Senior Thesis Program, a student must have:
- a strong interest in doing independent research
- a 3.0 overall grade point average on work taken at Longwood
- a 3.0 average in courses taken at Longwood for the major
- agreement of a faculty member to serve as sponsor
- permission of the chair of the sponsoring department
- permission of the Longwood Senior Thesis (LST) Committee
Student Responsibilities and Timeline for Completion
Further information about requirements and procedures for completing the Longwood Senior Thesis Program can be found at www.longwood.edu/seniorhonors. Any deviation from the following timeline requires prior approval from the LST committee chair.
- Select a faculty sponsor no later than the spring of the junior year.
- In consultation with the faculty sponsor, develop a research topic and prepare a research proposal. Proposals should not exceed 7-8 double-spaced pages (not including figures, tables, and bibliography). The proposal must include:
- Identification of the student, faculty sponsor, and academic discipline(s) involved.
- A statement of the guiding hypothesis, argument, or guiding principles.
- A summary of the reasons for and significance of the work, including a short literature review indicating how the project contributes to scholarship in the field.
- A brief description of the research method or approach to be followed.
- A summary of the more prominent resources (or at least the types of resources) to be used and where they are located. If the use of any type of equipment is expected, specify the type of equipment and how it will be used to test the hypothesis or main concept. Include published or unpublished texts as an attached tentative working bibliography.
- A timeline for completion of significant milestones. This may include deadlines for collection of data or research, completion of drafts, completion of creative work, etc.
- The names of at least three credentialed scholars in the field who are reasonably expected to be voting members of the examination committee. At least two of the members shall be from the Longwood faculty. It is recommended that the third member not be a member of the Longwood faculty.
- Approval of the chair of sponsoring department (via an email to the LST Committee chair).
- Two weeks prior to the end of spring (or semester leading into initial course of study) classes, submit the proposal electronically to the chair of the LST Committee, who will then distribute the file to the other members.
- Present the proposal to the LST Committee during exam week. During the proposal defense, be prepared to summarize the research project orally and answer questions about it. The faculty sponsor is expected to be present at this meeting. The chair of the sponsoring department may also attend. If approved, student should proceed to step 6. If the LST Committee requests revisions or resubmission of the proposal, student should proceed to step 5.
- If requested by the LST committee, deliver any changes, revisions, or resubmitted proposals to the LST chair no later than one full week prior to the beginning of fall/subsequent semester. During the first week of classes, any student asked to resubmit presents the revised proposal to the LST committee.
- If the proposal is approved by the Committee, register for LST credit (“498” in the relevant discipline) for the fall (initial program) semester.
- Conduct research according to the approved proposal. Make progress reports to the sponsor on a regular basis with a formal report to the examination committee (1-2 pages). A grade of at least “A-” in 498 is required in order to continue work on the LST project into a second semester and register in 499.
- Enroll in the Longwood Student Showcase for Research and Creative Inquiry for a public presentation of their Senior Thesis project.
- In consultation with the faculty sponsor, the examination committee, and the LST Committee liaison, schedules an oral defense of the project to take place no later than the last week of April. This typically occurs after the Showcase and before final examination week. The written component of the project (Senior Thesis) must be completed and submitted two weeks prior to the oral defense for review by the examination committee.
- If the examination committee and the full LST Committee approve the work for LST recognition at graduation, make any required corrections or additions to the LST Paper and provide a digital copy to the Archives and Records Manager of the Library for inclusion in the Library’s permanent collection no later than the last day of classes in the semester of the student’s corresponding 499 course.