Welcome to your senior year in Classics! This year, working under the guidance of a faculty member, you will research and write a senior thesis on a topic of your own choosing.
The senior thesis is your chance to embark on a major project of your own: follow your curiosity and passion for the ancient world and its legacy, and devise a research project that captures your interest and imagination.
Writing a thesis is a big undertaking, and you will draw upon all the skills of research, analysis and writing that you have been building over your first three years at Princeton. Start early! You will need to meet several deadlines over the course of the year for your thesis proposal, proposal defense, first chapter, and final copy. Before beginning your work, please consult the Independent Work Guide for full guidelines and advice about the thesis-writing process, including advice about how to choose a topic, how to conduct research in Classics, how to develop a good working relationship with your adviser, and how to go about writing the paper. The IWG also contains information about grading standards and deadlines. The list of deadlines can also be found here.
Timing and organization are key factors in completing a successful senior thesis. Start at the beginning of your senior year, working regularly and in an organized fashion. Get your books early, keep track of your bibliography throughout your period of research, and – ideally – plan to have a complete draft ready for spring break (i.e. by around the Ides of March). That will give you plenty of time to revise the whole and make sure that your overall argument makes sense. You will also need to take time to proofread your final manuscript carefully.
You should remain in regular contact with your faculty adviser at every stage of the process. Do not hesitate to ask questions, if you are ever unsure about a source or an argument. Remember, too, that you have access to a wide range of people and resources you can go to for help. For bibliographic help in particular, and for assistance in thinking through your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our bibliographer for Classics in Firestone library, David Jenkins, and check out his page on Library Resources for Classicists . Make an appointment to see a peer tutor in the Writing Center at any time during the writing process, and plan to join the Department’s senior thesis workshop – a weekly meeting run by Classics graduate students to help seniors share and get feedback on their thesis work-in-progress.
Past copies of senior thesis can be found in East Pyne 161, the Classics Seminar Room, when that room is not being used for classes. A list of past senior thesis titles, and bibliography recommendations are posted below in PDF format.
Please be aware of the deadlines over the course of your senior year.
Senior Departmental Exam
Following the completion of the senior thesis, all seniors will undertake a thirty-minute oral examination focusing on the thesis and related research. The exam committee is made up of the two thesis readers (the adviser and a second reader), with the DUS acting as chair.