Senior Thesis and Capstone

Students can fulfill the Senior Thesis requirement by completing the department-approved courses or research that is associated with their major, or students may choose to take one of the following courses offered through the University Honors Program. If a student fulfills the Senior Thesis requirement through their major, they must complete a Special Honors Verification Form (pdf). This form is not necessary if a student takes an Honors Thesis course listed below.

Students can fulfill the capstone in either the fall or spring of their senior year.

Who Should Take These

All seniors must complete a Senior Thesis requirement and take a 1-credit Capstone course. Juniors may take the Capstone and/or pursue senior thesis requirements, but should meet with an Program Officer first.



Honors Senior Thesis

Professor Chosen by Student
HONR 4198:10 - 3 to 4 Credits
CRN: 80645

Course Description: The Honors Senior Thesis is a one or two-semester independent study to complete a senior thesis. This course is for students who are NOT doing departmental honors. The students and professor should meet at least ten times during the semester. Any student considering the Honors Senior Thesis option should contact an Honors Advisor. This course is only open to Seniors, and requires a completed Honors Contract to register.

October Capstone - The Public Good

Professor Yolanda Fortenberry
HONR 4199:10 - 1 Credit
CRN: 80888
M 6:10-8:10 PM

Course Description: This course will meet October 2nd, 16th, 23rd, and 30th. This course will meet October 2, 16, 23, and 30.  This capstone experience will focus on what is meant by the public good.  In light of our current political climate, is it still useful to speak of “the public good” in the singular?  Is knowledge a public good? When we think about our health, is the availability of healthcare a public good? Is education a public good or private?  These are some of the questions we will ask as we discuss the "public good;" we will explore the public good's role as a concept in our society, while evaluating its status and utility.

September Capstone - Pleasure

Professor Joseph Trullinger
HONR 4199:11 - 1 Credit
CRN: 82474
T 6:00-8:00 PM

Course Description: This course will meet September 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. Everyone wants to be happy—but not everyone agrees about what makes for a truly joyful life. What else could be more important, then, than coming to terms with what pleasure is in the first place, and sorting out how we ought to see our bodily desires? In this course we’ll explore the timeless idea that nothing in life is more valuable than pleasure (also known as hedonism). This course will not be an endorsement or a condemnation of hedonism, but rather an opportunity for you to come to an informed conclusion of your own about the life of pleasure. We will discuss a variety of classical and contemporary views on hedonism, beginning with Epicurus’ point that immortality would make a joyful life impossible, and ending with the 20th century philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who sees hedonism as a life-affirming alternative to today’s dead-end consumerist culture.

November Capstone - Life and Living

Professor LaTisha Hammond
HONR 4199:12 - 1 Credit
CRN: 83523
W 4:00-6:00 PM

Course Description: This course will meet October 25h, November 1, 8th, and 15th. What is life? What does it mean for something to be living? What constitutes a life lived? In this capstone we will discuss life and living from biological and social perspectives, exploring where and how these perspectives converge and diverge. Some of the questions we will ask and attempt to understand will include: what are the biological requirements of life, and what does it mean for something or someone to live at these minimum requirements versus something more? What characterizes living? What is considered a “good" quality of life, and who or what decides this? What are the indicators of a good life, and what does it mean to live well? All of these questions and others will be considered in various readings and media as we reflect on the experiences of life and living.

September Capstone - The Pursuit of Happiness

Professor Maria Frawley
HONR 4199:13 - 1 Credit
CRN: 84881
M 12:30-2:30 PM

Course Description: This course will meet September 11th, 18th, 25th and October 2nd. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The phrase resonates with meaning for most of us born and raised in the United States, but this capstone will give us the opportunity to reflect on just what we mean by "happiness" and what the implications of its "pursuit" are for our relationships, our career paths, and our sense of the future. Reading will be varied -- some philosophical essays (including John Stuart Mill); some literature extracts (including Jane Austen); some recent work that blends autobiography, psychology, and sociology. Hugh Mckay calls for a moratorium on the word "happiness," believing it a dangerous idea that has led to "a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness." We will reflect on this and many other approaches to happiness in our four afternoons of conversation.