Senior Honors Thesis
In the senior year, FMS majors may undertake a two-course, year-long Senior Honors Thesis of their choice, which allows them to do independent, in-depth, self-directed work as scholars and/or artists under the direction of a committee of at least two faculty.
The Senior Honors Thesis is the culminating experience of the FMS major, affording majors the opportunity to integrate, build upon and extend what they have learned in a direction of their choosing.
The Senior Honors Thesis ends with an oral defense of the finished work with the faculty committee that has overseen it. At the recommendation of the faculty committee, the Senior Honors Thesis may merit either Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors. These are different from Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) that are determined by a student's overall GPA.
FMS majors who have been on the Dean's List at least twice and have a GPA of at least 3.4 are eligible to do a Senior Honor Thesis.
The thesis can take many forms. Examples include:
- an extended essay of film or media scholarship
- a short film—scripted live-action, animation, or documentary non-fiction
- a feature-length screenplay
- a selection of teleplays for an original TV show
- a public relations, advertising, or marketing campaign
- a work of long-form journalism
Students wishing to make a film or write a screenplay for the Senior Honors Thesis must have taken at least three filmmaking and/or screenwriting courses (or their equivalent) prior to the senior year.
All Seniors Honors Theses, whether creative or scholarly, must have a research component. Students are required to consult the scholarship, theory, and practice relevant to the topic addressed in the thesis.
Department Criteria for a Seniors Honors Thesis:
- Submit a short proposal during the junior year that outlines the basic research questions or creative objectives of the thesis and identifies a faculty member who has agreed to serve as the chair of the thesis committee
- Register for FMS-0198 Senior Honors Thesis 1 in the fall semester of the senior year, which assists students in developing and preparing the thesis
- Register for FMS-0199 Senior Honors Thesis 2 in the spring of the senior year, which assists students in completing the thesis under the guidance of a faculty committee of at least two members
- Submit a draft of the thesis by the first week after spring break of the senior year, and then revise and finalize it based on feedback from committee members
- Conduct a one-hour oral defense of the thesis with all committee members by the end of April of the senior year
Timetable for a Senior Honors Thesis:
- Review Tufts Senior Honors Thesis requirements
- Review FMS Senior Honors Thesis proposal form requirements
- Attend optional FMS Senior Honors Thesis Workshop (offered once in the late-fall or early spring-semester)
- Choose faculty thesis advisor/potential committee chair to discuss proposal ideas
- Write draft proposal (2-3 pages) and submit to faculty thesis advisor along with draft Senior Honors Thesis proposal form
- Meet with faculty thesis advisor to discuss proposal and make any recommended changes
- Initiate IRB review if applicable for empirical projects
- Submit completed and signed FMS Senior Honors Thesis proposal form, along with proposal and unofficial transcript to FMS
After thesis project is approved:
- Register for FMS-0198 Senior Honors Thesis 1 for senior fall semester (section 01 for production projects; section 02 for non-production projects)
- Choose additional committee members (at least two faculty members; may have additional members who are alumni, professionals in field, etc.) and submit FMS Senior Thesis Committee/Reader Form to FMS
First Semester Senior Year
- Submit Tufts Senior Honors Candidate Form
- Discuss the thesis process and objectives with committee
- Undertake research and write research review
- Complete IRB review if applicable
- Register for FMS-0199 Senior Honors Thesis 2 for senior spring semester (section 01 for production projects; section 02 for non-production projects)
Second Semester Senior Year
- Submit draft of thesis to committee members by the first week after spring break
- Revise and finalize thesis based on feedback from committee members
- Conduct a one-hour oral defense of thesis with all committee members by the last day of spring semester reading period
- Archive your completed project in Tufts Digital Collections and Archives (via the MIRA website) any time after your thesis defense and before your graduation date.
- Archive your completed project with FMS Program Administrator.
Recent Senior Spotlight: Jacob Ehrlich, A20
Jacob doubled majored in Film and Media Studies and Computer Science. Learn about Jacob’s senior honors thesis process and the support he received from FMS to accomplish his goals.