UPDATE: Thesis Proposals Due May 15, 2020

Class of 2021 – Junior History Majors – Thesis Proposals are due before NOON on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Message from Professor Dubow:

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and well, and doing the best you can as we navigate this transition. I am writing with some updated information about the process for submitting proposals for writing a senior thesis in history.

Understanding that this transition presents a wide range of challenges, and that everyone is adjusting to these new circumstances, we are extending the due date for proposals by one month. We are asking you to submit your proposals by noon on Friday, May 15, 2020.  But we do not want the circumstances of this semester to affect your ability to write a thesis. If you think that you will need longer than that, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me, and we will make whatever accommodations we can.

Remember that proposals are typically a little under two single-spaced pages, plus a bibliography. The requirements for a proposal, and the thesis program itself, are described at length in the memo you received in February, but just as a reminder, here is a list of what your proposal should include:

    • A provisional working title.
    • A description of your thesis topic.
    • A clear articulation of the central question or questions you hope to answer in relation to your thesis topic.
    • An explanation of why that question is historically and historiographically significant and how your research will help you to answer the question.
    • A description of the primary sources you plan to use in researching your topic, including where those sources are located, as well as your ability to gain access to those sources and, if they are written in a foreign language, to read them.
    • A brief discussion of your background and skills that will help you with research and writing the thesis. Have you taken a research seminar or other history course that covers the general area in which you are interested? Do you have language skills that will enable you to read particular sources?
    • A statement confirming that you have reviewed the proposal with a faculty member who has agreed to advise your thesis.
    • A preliminary working bibliography (use Chicago Style) that includes the primary and secondary sources you expect to use in your thesis.

You can read sample proposals here:

Sample Thesis Proposals

You should register for four regular classes during preregistration. It will be easy to drop a class and add the thesis class during add/drop period.

Remember that faculty are available at a distance for consultation and help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your potential faculty advisor or to me with questions via email, or to set up a virtual appointment through google meet, zoom, or a phone call.

Also, please know that the librarians are here and are eager to help. Librarian Lori DuBois is our department’s collection and reference liaison, and she welcomes your questions. The library is still providing many of its core services:

    • The online library is fully functional (databases, e-books, e-journals, streaming services, etc.)
    • For students and faculty not on campus, the library will, if possible, scan materials from our collections.
    • Assistance will be available (email Lori DuBois at ldubois​@williams​.edu or use the Ask A Librarian service to reach the librarian on duty; the library will also offer virtual research appointments).
    • See the informational page on the library website, which will be updated regularly with further details.

Take good care, and be in touch with any questions or concerns.

All my very best,

Sara Dubow