American Studies majors complete a thesis during their senior year. The thesis is one of the most rigorous and interesting parts of the American Studies curriculum; it helps students to bring their undergraduate coursework into focus and to produce substantial, research-driven projects. The thesis might take a traditional written form (i.e., a 60-80 page research paper), or students may produce non-traditional theses, such as documentary films, websites, or work in other genres, non-traditional theses are assessed with the same degree of rigor as written theses.
During the thesis process, students undertake challenging and engaging year-long projects that draw upon their years of work in American Studies and enable them to reflect upon their experience at Georgetown. The year-long thesis colloquium for seniors focuses on the process of developing an independent research project. It guides students in selecting appropriate research techniques, negotiating disciplinary norms, drafting, and refining their work. Students emerge with well-rounded competencies as researchers and writers.
Students developing theses receive guidance from faculty in the colloquium course and from the thesis advisor. In the fall semester of the senior year, each student selects an advisor to serve as an individual mentor during the thesis process. This guidance continues through the spring semester and fundamentally shapes the thesis through every stage of its development.
Late in the thesis process, each student presents their work to the class and the broader American Studies community. The schedules of recent presentation events, linked below, reflect the quality and diversity of thesis topics.
As we build our online archive of American Studies theses, it is important for us to secure appropriate permissions from the alumni who wrote the theses. If you have completed an American Studies senior thesis at Georgetown, and would like to get in touch about making sure your work can be included in our archive, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have already reached out, thank you so much!