Guidelines for Child Study and Human Development
Senior Honors Theses and Applied Special Projects (ASP)
(Updated: March 2018)
A Senior Honors Thesis and an Applied Special Project give
qualified students an opportunity to carry out a capstone project in some area
or on some subject related to Child Study and Human Development .
As a capstone project, the thesis or ASP can provide experience in doing
research, working closely with a faculty member, and integrating courses taken
as a CSHD major — all the while building upon and extending past learning in
Students completing an Honors Thesis or ASP are strongly encouraged to
participate in the annual Eliot-Pearson Student Presentation Day, held in April.
The Senior Honors Thesis (CSHD 198)
The Senior Honors thesis in Child Study and Human
Development is a project students take on during their senior year, though the
planning for it should begin before the senior year begins.
Students receive credit for taking the equivalent of
two courses spread out over two semesters.
To be eligible to do a Senior Honors Thesis students must:
- have been on the Dean's List at least twice prior
to senior year
- have at least a 3.4 GPA
- write a short proposal during junior year which
outlines the thesis topic, methodology and gives a sense of what the literature
review will include
- find two faculty members to serve on his/her
thesis committee as first and second readers.
The first reader must be secured by the end of junior year; the second
reader can be added later. The first
reader must be a member of the Child Study and Human Development faculty; the
second reader may be either within or outside the department.
- make sure that if original research will be
conducted that any necessary IRB approval is cleared; IRB approval is also
required for students doing analyses
as part of a larger project. Note:
if a student is doing work that will or might require IRB approval, it is
prudent to meet with a member of the IRB committee to discuss the proposed
project, and also to undergo the online training that qualifies a student to
undertake a project that will require IRB approval.
The Senior Honors Thesis Proposal
The proposal should contain the following information:
- topic of the honors thesis and the research question or questions
- some discussion of why the topic is significant — with significance
being determined by theoretical or methodological issues,
topicality, and/or social/political/economic relevance pertaining to children,
youth, and/or families
- an outline of sources for the literature review.
A literature review is meant to situate work within what others have done
- an outline of the proposed methodology and a
proposed data analysis plan
- a list of the two or more faculty members who
have agreed to serve on the thesis committee; the second or third reader can be
from outside the department.
- The proposal should be 5-8 pages long.
Types of projects that can form the basis of a Senior Honors Thesis
There are many types of projects that can form the basis
for a Senior Honors Thesis including case studies, arts-based research,
secondary analyses of data, content analyses of children's media/arts, and
Timetable for a Senior Honors Thesis
At the recommendation of a student's thesis committee, the
senior thesis may merit either honors, high honors, or highest honors.
These are different from Latin honors (cum
laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) in that are determined solely by
the evaluation of the thesis and not by a student's overall GPA.
The Applied Special Project (ASP) (CSHD 98)
The Applied Special Project is a semester-long one credit
project in Child Study and Human
Development. The ASP is different
from a Senior Honors Thesis in that it is only one semester in duration, and it
need not take the form of a written project (although it could).
The ASP might take the form of a film, a play, artwork, performance
pieces, music, photography or multimedia.
The ASP could also take a written form, with a minimum of 35 pages in
length. The ASP might be an applied
extension of a project a student has undertaken as part of CD applied experience, a
spinoff that complements and extends a project undertaken in another course or a
non-empirical outgrowth of an ongoing research project.
Any ASP must contain a written component, but if it is paired with an
audiovisual element, the written portion may be less than 35 pages.
To be eligible to do an ASP a student must:
- write a short proposal during the semester prior
to carrying out the ASP, a proposal that outlines the ASP topic, methodology and
that gives a sense of what the literature review will include
- find two faculty members to serve on their ASP
committee; one can be from outside the department
- make sure that if original research or interviews
involve human subjects that any
necessary IRB training is received and approval is cleared
Timetable for a Senior ASP
Note: A Child Study and Human Development ASP does not make a student eligible to receive
thesis honors, although qualifying students might be eligible for nomination to
receive summa cum laude.
Tisch Library offers an 8 week, 1/2 credit class designed for students who are planning to
write a senior thesis: Research 4 Success:
Using the Library for Thesis and Capstone Projects (EXP 19). This is not required, but is a resource available for