Senior Thesis and Research Projects

At Lake Forest College, students regularly engage in dynamic, hands-on research and one-on-one collaboration with faculty. The projects often culminate in either a senior thesis or research project.

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is original scholarly research undertaken in the student’s senior year, usually over two semesters. The research culminates in a formal written dissertation and oral examination that is evaluated by a faculty committee. Outstanding theses are awarded distinction at graduation. Senior theses may be undertaken for one or two course credits; normally two course credits will not be awarded in the same semester. Recent thesis titles:

Duality: Exploring the Life & Works of Nikos Kazantzakis

Presenting International News: Convergences and Divergences between American and European Broadcasters

Mixing of Color and Light in Sculpture After Minimalism

Environmental Stress and Health: The Currently Accepted Design of Environmental Enrichment Negatively Influences Antibody

Production in Rats Immunized with Sheep Red Blood Cells

James Henry Mays and the 22nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry

Research Projects

A research project is similar to a senior thesis but is more specialized and advanced than a tutorial, requiring greater independence and originality on the part of the student. Students conduct scholarly research with a view to producing substantial work in the form of a term paper or report. Recent projects:

Genetic Links to Schizophrenia

Cuban-Latin American Trade Relations

American Indian History

Change in NFL Player Contracts (1975 - 2000)

Juniors and seniors are eligible to undertake research projects. A maximum of four research project course credits is allowed toward graduation, no more than two per semester and no more than three in a year.

Phi Beta Kappa Senior Thesis Award:

In very special cases, the College’s chapter of the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa names a senior thesis as especially outstanding.

While the award is not necessary given every year, in 2010, three exceptional students’ theses earned this distinction:

  • Michael Patrick Fiske, “Molecular Determinants of alpha-Synuclein Pathotoxicity in Yeast Models”
  • Gabriella Todorova Panayotova, “An Empirical Study of Security-related Transparency in International Relations”
  • Paulius Kuprys, Identification of the First Telomerase RNA from the Filamentous Fungus Aspergillus oryzae and Related Organisms

Did you know?

  • Research projects can satisfy the senior capstone requirement in many majors.
  • Students may have the opportunity to present their research at the annual Steven Galovich Student Symposium.