Senior English 2015-16

Honors Literature: Independent Thesis Proposal Guidelines
Conducted in partnership with Mr. Rigney & Mr. Osar

Course Description

Senior English is a demanding course of study that will challenge each student’s attitude and academic ability. The work load, when considered in conjunction with the difficult senior schedule and various other classes, is extensive. Some students may however feel that they are ready for a more rigorous literary experience, one that will test their curiosity and stamina. The Honors Literature Thesis proposal is designed to provide this additional challenge for students who believe they would be tested best outside the confines of the Senior English curriculum and classroom. All work for the thesis project is in addition to the required work load of Senior English. Below you will find an outline of the scope of the thesis.


Learning Partnership: In partnership with a faculty sponsor, you will create and explore a specific genre, author, text, or theme through the creation of an original thesis.
  • E.g.: Consider the role of women in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in relation to the norms of the time period in which the piece was written.
  • E.g.: Creative writing project focused on producing a short story, including research and reading from an extensive assortment of stories.
  • Past senior thesis titles have included:
    • “The Battle of Humanity: An In-Depth Evaluation of the Human Condition as Reflected Through War Literature”
    • “Self Perception versus Societal Perception of Women in Classic Literature”
    • “The Chimes of Freedom Crashing” – an analysis of Russian literature
    • An original short story entitled, “Dreams"

Writing Progress:
  • At the end of each semester the student must submit a sequential paper (rough draft) that is reviewed (assessed) by two to three peers, sponsoring faculty, and Mr. Rigney / Mr. Osar.
  • Memos (dates due below) that clearly assess progress and learning – must be signed by sponsoring faculty.
  • Regular meetings (suggested every two or three weeks) between student and sponsoring faculty.
  • Monthly meetings with Mr. Rigney / Mr. Osar to check in on progress.
  • Expected that students work independently and in partnership with faculty members, accessing local faculty (Hyde, Pomfret, Woodstock Academy, etc.) as well as local universities (U Conn, Brown, Providence College, etc.).
  • Occasionally we will meet as a small group of students and sponsors to review progress. These meetings are not optional.

End of the Year Product
  • Thesis Paper
    • Includes title page, table of contents, outline, completed document, and extensive works cited.
  • Ideal: Culminating Thesis Presentation with the potential for a public defense before faculty and peer panel.

Overarching Goals

  • Attitude: Student demonstrates motivation and drive to develop, research, write and complete an independent thesis in partnership with peers and faculty.
  • Skills: Student pursuing the independent thesis should expect to demonstrate:
    • Mastery in citation, writing structure and development of argument.
    • Clear ability to structure time and meet deadlines in pursuit of independent study.
    • Work in scholarly partnership with faculty; seeking feedback and challenging one’s own ideas.

Commitment: If your thesis proposal is accepted and you enter the process, your transcript will be permanently changed. You will not have the option of simply completing Senior English. Your success or difficulty will be within the designation of Honors Senior English. You, your sponsoring faculty, and your parents should be well aware of the demanding level of this commitment.
Prerequisites: Each student applying should have a one-paragraph emailed recommendation from your Junior English teacher indicating their confidence that you are ready and prepared to work at this level. Both effort and achievement grades from previous year’s English course should reflect student’s ability and commitment.
Grading: This will count as 30% of your final literature grade for each term and for the year. Failure to complete the thesis will put your overall final grade (and credits) into jeopardy.
Deadlines: In general all work handed in later that the dates provided below will receive 10% deductions automatically. Primary responsibility for your learning must come from you however and follow-up should be in your hands.
Note of Warning: Once you have agreed to pursue the Honors Thesis you cannot back out. Your transcript and grade point average are affected by enrolling in this supplemental course material.
Year-long breakdown
Due September 16th - Proposal for Honors designation (returning students)
Essential information provides answers to three key questions: What? Why? How? o What do I want to write about? (Topic, Texts) o Why do I want to write about that topic? (Relevance)o How do I want to write about it? (Method)
Your Thesis Proposal should contain the following:o Statement of Purpose (direction)o Hypothesiso Summary of academic goalso Summary of personal goalso Time table (dates and progress to be assessed)o Faculty Partnership (see note below)
Faculty Partnership – When handing in your proposal, you should indicate a faculty member who has agreed to partner with you in this process. This faculty member should be aware of the extent of the commitment (regular meetings, review of work and sponsorship). Additionally, this faculty member should be able to speak to your abilities and attitude.
Suggested due dates

Due November 3rd – Rough Outline of ThesisOne page memo outlining status: what has been accomplished, what is still to be worked on, where you need help, what you are learning about yourself. Please outline continued goals for progress.
Due November 14th– Stage One Paper (Prior to fall exams)Stage One Paper should include the following o Rough draft of introduction and initial argumento Preliminary Works Cited page
Winter Term – Specific dates to be determined Due mid January – Two page memo outlining progress since fall term and goals for the remainder of the term Due late February – Stage Two Paper (combined with Stage One)o Rough draft of introduction and initial argumento Preliminary Works Cited page
Spring Term – Specific dates to be determinedDue post March Break – Full Rough Draft of Final Paper
  • Presentations to underclass English classes

Due May 15th – Final Papers, Presentations, and Defenses

Student Proposals