New honors program class offers dedicated thesis preparation time


Beacon Staff

“The point and hope is that [the class] will help prepare students to write any thesis they want,” Honors College Director Wendy Walters said.

By Karina Sanchez

The Honors Program will offer a Thesis Preparation Seminar in spring 2021, which will give students the opportunity to craft their thesis with the support of a classroom setting, according to a college official.

Honors College Director Wendy Walters thought of implementing this new course after she reviewed Junior course evaluations and noticed the need for more thesis preparation. Walters submitted a proposal in fall 2019 to get the course approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. 

Students who are currently enrolled in the Honors Program will have the option to take the new course offering, whereas the college will require students admitted in fall 2020 and after to take the course as a part of the program’s curriculum.  

“The point and hope is that [the class] will help prepare students to write any thesis they want,” Walters said in a phone interview from her home in Massachusetts. “Previously, there hasn’t been much training and method that is appropriate to the projects students want to do and this ideally would help.”

Walters said she kept in mind the feedback she has received in past years from students while modifying the curriculum; she has noticed that that junior year is typically when honors students are the busiest in their majors.

“Many students want to finish their thesis in December, not May,” Walters said. “They either want to graduate early or go to ELA their senior year and this class will allow them the track to do the things they want to do and complete their thesis comfortably.”

Sophomore creative writing major Jay Townsend said the course would be good for people who might procrastinate on their thesis, but they are not planning on taking the new course offering. 

“Taking that class would use up another one of my class slots,” Townsend said in a phone interview. “Some of the Honors classes feel like a waste of time and there are so many other classes that I want to be taking that are pertinent to my major.”

Sophomore Honors student Andie Wong said that after having three honors classes her first year at Emerson, she wasn’t sure if she could do the program for another three years. 

“Personally, I am really glad that they aren’t making us take [the new course],” Wong said in a phone interview. “I’m not excited to write this thesis, and the less work I can do for it, the better.” 

Rising Senior Jessica Cunha who is currently working on her senior thesis, said she thinks the class is a great idea although she won’t have the opportunity to take it.

“Time goes by fast from the time of deciding what your thesis is and actually researching,” Cunha said in a phone interview. “I’m working on my thesis this summer, so I’ll be doing the bulk of the writing and trying to keep myself on track.”

The new class would give students designated time to work on their thesis, which is a minimum 60-page paper that showcases research and writing skills taught in the Honors Program.

“Personally, I think it’s a great idea and I won’t really be able to capitalize from it now,” Cunha said. “I know that having a whole class dedicated to your thesis can be overwhelming, but my advice would be that if you have an elective, use it toward working on your thesis.”