One of the most unique features of an education at Albion College is the opportunities available for students to complete original research. Working closely with faculty mentors, students define the scope of their research and carry it through to completion. Doing independent research allows students to pursue their intellectual passions and to make connections among diverse fields of knowledge.
Majors in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology are strongly encouraged to consider writing a senior honors thesis. Writing a thesis is certainly not the best choice for everyone, but for many it is an important opportunity. Completing a senior thesis can be especially valuable experience for students interested in graduate study and in possibly one day writing a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. Completing a thesis allows students to work closely with a committee of scholars and learn about the process of doing scholarly research and writing.
Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to submit a thesis for departmental honors. Usually, students begin thinking about possible topics in their 2nd or 3rd year and discussing ideas with faculty who might be appropriate advisors and committee members. Students often use a thesis to explore possible career interests. Others may feel their career plans are well set and see their thesis projects as opportunities to delve into something in which they are passionately interested before entering medical school, law school, etc. Some students use off-campus study as the basis for a thesis project and find that the thesis helps build a bridge between their experience off-campus and their final year at Albion (students often feel their interests in another part of the world or the country have only been whetted by the time they complete an off-campus program–a thesis project might be a way to further explore those interests).
Ideally, students who want to write an honors thesis will complete some research prior to their senior year or at least write a well-developed proposal, literature review, or introductory chapter. Senior year, thesis-writers typically register for a full unit of coursework with their dissertation advisor in both the fall and spring semesters.
For more information about research at Albion, visit the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA) website