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Senior thesis

Gearing up for the senior thesis

Princeton NJ -- Signifying the culmination of the undergraduate experience, the senior thesis at Princeton has been described by one alumnus as “the biggest challenge of my life thus far.”

The thesis, an independent work that typically runs about 100 pages, gives seniors the opportunity to pursue original research and scholarship on a topic of their own choice under the guidance of faculty advisers.

The topics — as demonstrated by the projects undertaken by the four seniors profiled in this issue of this Princeton Weekly Bulletin — are as diverse as the disciplines they represent. Some are more theoretical in nature — finding connections between music and text or understanding modern literary traditions — while others have more practical applications — grasping the intricate workings of a clock or championing new ways to rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

Requiring a thesis of its undergraduates sets Princeton apart from other colleges and universities where it often is an option. Successfully completing a thesis sets Princeton students apart in terms of what they gain along the way. As another former student put it: “Beginning with the day I decided to come to Princeton, I spent three years wondering how I would ever choose a topic that I was interested enough in and knew enough about to write a 100-page thesis. Now, as I sit at my trusty computer, with my thesis complete, graded and returned, I realize that this seemingly immense undertaking was fun, rewarding and my proudest accomplishment at Princeton.”

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