American Studies students are required to complete a capstone thesis project over the course of their senior year at Georgetown. The thesis is one of the most rigorous and interesting parts of the American Studies curriculum and allows students to synthesize their experience with the program and create a substantial research-driven project. The thesis can either be in a traditional written form (a 70-90 page research paper) or be in a non-traditional form, such as a documentary film, website, or creative production. However, non-traditionally formed theses are assessed with the same rigorous protocols as their written counterparts.
The goal of the thesis is to allow the students an opportunity to undertake a challenging and engaging year long project which will encourage their use of the entirety of their American Studies experience and allow them to reflect upon their greater experience at Georgetown. Further, the thesis colloquium over the Fall and Spring semester of senior year focuses on the process of a major research project, allowing students to work through research techniques, methodologies, disciplinary guidelines, the IRB process, interviews, production, drafting, and editing thus creating a well-rounded approach to research and writing, as well as non-traditional forms of academic argumentation.
American Studies theses are crafted with the guidance of the professors in the colloquium course, and the thesis advisor. In the Fall semester the students select an advisor from the faculty at Georgetown who will serve as a mentor and guide through the process, particularly in terms of content, this guidance continues through the Spring semester and is fundamental in shaping the thesis through development to completion.
One of the final parts of the thesis process involves presenting to the class, as well as the American Studies community. Our schedules recent schedules include the titles of each thesis, and allow for a sense of the kind of fascinating and varied topics our students undertake.