French 476
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French 475 - 476: Senior Thesis                 Spring 2008


Project supervisor:

Professor Bruce H. MAYER: Carnegie 131, ext. 8447


Senior Paper*


The senior paper is a polished piece of work, at least 25 pages long, that explores a topic or theme in depth.  The faculty expects all students to hold themselves to the highest possible standard.


The French literature or global commerce senior major should write an analytical paper that engages secondary as well as primary sources and that demonstrates the ability to use the processes of interpretation and research and the conventions of documentation appropriate to literary and cultural scholarship.


Projects should be prepared as if they were being submitted for publication in a scholarly journal and a bibliography should be included.


French 476:  The senior paper or project, written for the required three-hour course numbered French 476, is conducted much like an independent study.  The course actually begins in the fall semester with French 475 when all members of the Senior Seminar submit their project proposals.  After attending a library instruction session designed for researchers in literary or cultural studies, after completing the readings proposed on the syllabus for French 475 throughout the fall term, and after attending an introductory conference with their supervisor, each senior submits a short prospectus. This 5 page prospectus is a narrative description of what they expect to develop in their research paper, including a preliminary bibliography in MLA form, listing works they have read as well as those they expect to read. The bibliography will evolve throughout the studentsí work in French 475 & French 476. This prospectus will be submitted at the end of the fall semester prior to the studentís departure for Christmas vacation.


In the first week of the spring semester, majors, and their faculty supervisor(s) meet to discuss expectations, deadlines, form and documentation, and evaluation, and to hear brief, informal oral presentations of each studentís work in progress.  An updated bibliography is due the following week, and a revised version should be included with the final draft.  In the last week of the spring semester, everyone enrolled in French 475 & 476 and all faculty in the department, and outside members of the jury, attend formal oral presentations of the senior papers and projects.  In all other weeks of the semester, seniors are expected to meet once a week with their supervisors at a regularly scheduled time, submitting a series of drafts according to the departmentís schedule of deadlines (attached).  


Oral presentations in French:  Oral presentations take place in Carnegie Hall.  Each presentation should take about 30 minutes, followed by five to ten minutes for questions from the jury.  All students will present their central ideas or arguments with selected examples or evidence. An overview of the most salient, worthwhile and significant academic and personal experiences in their French major at L.C. will also be presented by the student.




*This syllabus was developed based extensively on expectations of Tri-College Professors for French majors.




Grading and penalties:  Supervisors will offer guidance and serve as resource persons, but responsibility for the quality of the paper or project is the studentís own.  All drafts must be prepared in MLA form on a word processor, proof-read, and spell-checked, with pages stapled or bound in a folder.  It is very important to stay on schedule and back up computer files because no paper or project will be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on Friday April 18th, 2008 without penalty: there is a one full letter grade penalty for each 24-hour late period.  Note:  5:01 p.m. Saturday April 19th begins the first late period.  Failure to meet any of the other deadlines will result in lowering the course grade by one-third of a letter.  Requests for exceptions to these policies must be submitted in writing before the deadlines; they will be considered by departmental review.  A writer will also be penalized up to a full letter in the course grade for excessive surface errors in the final draft.  An oral presentation judged excellent by a majority of the department faculty and members of the jury from outside the Department will raise the course grade by one letter, while an oral presentation judged weak by faculty consensus will lower the course grade by one-third of a letter.


Process of evaluation:  The final draft will be read and marked by two faculty readers.  Each reader makes a written evaluation, and the final letter grade will be determined by the three faculty members in conference after the oral presentation.


Criteria for evaluation:  Readers of papers will take the following into account in determining grades:  originality, sophistication of approach, quality of written expression in French, depth of interpretation, breadth of research, quality of organization, quality of editing, consistency with MLA form, quality of the updated bibliography.



French 476 Ė Spring 2008


  Schedule of Meetings, Conferences, and Deadlines*   

Week of January 14

Senior French majors and faculty supervisor meet to discuss expectations, address questions, and give informal oral presentations of their thesis prospectus or work in progress,


January 21 (Monday 5 p.m.)

Turn in an expanded and updated bibliography with a revised and clarified prospectus for supervisorís review.


Week of January 28

Individual conferences on revisions or reading to date


February 15 (Friday 5 p.m.)

Turn in a 10-page draft at supervisorís office.  Draft should correspond roughly to first chapter, plus preliminary version of introduction. 


Week of February 18

Meet as group on ____________________ to share experiences, oral update of progress.

Individual meetings for discussion of draft with supervisor.  Continue with Chapter 2


February 29 (Friday 5 p.m.)

Turn in Chapter 2 - another 10 pages




Week March 10

Individual conferences


March 31 (Monday 5 p.m.)

Turn in full-length draft through to supervisorís office


April 7- 11

Individual conferences


Week of April 14

Turn in revisions, individual conferences


April 18 (Friday  5 p.m.)

Turn in revised final draft, including updated bibliography as well as list of works cited.


Week of April 21

Meet with supervisor to go over final revisions


April 25 (Friday  5 p.m.)

Turn in 3 copies of final version of paper


Week of April 28

Oral presentations scheduled individually


Graded senior work will be available to be picked up after May 6th