Senior Thesis Seminar
"Writing a senior thesis was the best and most rewarding way to cap off my academic career at Northwestern. It's one of the rare undergraduate opportunities in which you can seriously engage with scholarship and actually contribute to it, where you can create something that is both deeply-researched and original. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in researching and writing a meaningful capstone project in your senior year, regardless of whether or not you're interested in pursuing an academic career." – Will Kirkland, Class of 2016
The senior thesis seminar (History 398) is a selective program intended for outstanding history majors who would like to independently research and write history of their own (under faculty supervision). One recent thesis-writer, described the experience this way: "The independent research involved in writing a thesis was a totally different experience from anything I'd done for my classes. The process of tracking down and analyzing primary sources is something you don't get out of a typical class, and it gave me a better feel for what historical scholarship actually entails."
The rewards are many: the chance to work closely with a faculty advisor to craft an original research project of your own design, the pleasures of sustained immersion in a subject of intense personal interest, enhanced research, writing, and time-management skills, and the confidence and satisfaction that goes with completing a scholarly project of this magnitude. For those considering graduate study, the senior thesis can be both a trial run and a stepping-stone that will give you a top-notch writing sample for applications to graduate programs. It also gives you the chance to work with peers who care as much about history as you do. Students who have participated in the program in the past have consistently cited the senior thesis seminar the most rewarding intellectual experience of their college years.