A capstone project worthy of an honors college.
The Senior Thesis Project is something that binds all New College students and graduates, since every New College student produces one. That’s part of what it means to be an honors college: we have faith that every admitted student can and will develop a senior project, carry out the necessary research or work, and then present it to a committee (consisting of your faculty thesis sponsor and at least two other faculty readers) for an oral baccalaureate examination at the end of senior year. When you invest in New College, we invest in you.
Many Senior Projects are long, written research papers in your AOC (major) or a write-up of laboratory research you’ve conducted as part of a larger project with other students and even faculty. Some projects consist of a body of artwork and a senior show with a substantial written artist’s statement, while others might include a performance of a play by a famous playwright or a musical composition you wrote. That’s why it’s a “project” — it’s not only a written thesis. If you can win faculty support for your dream project, you can do it.
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? And perhaps a little daunting? It’s helpful to remember that you don’t start with the thesis; it is the culmination of long-term work. By the time the project comes around, you will have built up the intellectual stamina required to complete the task.
During your first three years, you spend time getting to know your faculty and yourself, discovering passions and abilities you might not have realized you had. By the time you begin your third year at New College, you’ll be thinking about who you’d like to ask to be your thesis sponsor and about class or tutorial projects that you wish you could take further. You’ll know your own abilities, and you’ll be ready for the chance to really show what you can do now that you’re nearing graduation.
The final baccalaureate examination varies a bit in different disciplines, from a spirited defense of your work to a friendly conversation about where it could go next. The exam is your final chance to explain your work, what you’ve discovered and why it matters. A committee of at least three faculty members will focus just on you and your work for more than an hour. And when you graduate, you’ll have a project that you can use to springboard into your future, whether that includes graduate study, art-making, or moving into a profession right away.
In May, students can present their original research at New Scholars New College. These may include colorful poster presentations, musical performances, a student film or oral presentations that showcase your original, independent research. There is also an annual Senior Thesis Art Exhibit featuring a selection of artwork from the art students’ final year of studies, held either on campus or at a public gallery space in downtown Sarasota. Both New Scholars and the exhibit are wonderful opportunities to share your work with the general public.