Senior Thesis (RCAH 491)

The Senior Thesis is one of two ways that RCAH students can fulfill their capstone requirement (the other is to take RCAH 492: Senior Seminar). Building on prior work within the college, such as field experience or internship projects, special exhibitions, performances, or other community-based activities, students complete a project that will launch their post-graduate career. They might compose a piece of original writing or performance art, or complete a research project. Whatever form the thesis project takes, students will complete a series of writing assignments that meets the Tier Two requirement. An application is required for participation in a senior thesis project, but a new form is available each spring semester and will be emailed to all juniors. 

Download the application here.

More information the Senior Thesis:

RCAH 491: Senior Thesis


The primary way that RCAH students will fulfill their College capstone requirement is by taking the Senior Seminar (RCAH 492).

  1. The alternative to this is to apply for permission to enroll in the Senior Thesis (RCAH491)and write a thesis. Permission will be granted to a limited number of students based on applications that are well-written, that propose well-conceived and carefully thought-through projects, and that are founded on the student’s class-work and experiences, especially in the RCAH. Please note: Students may not use the Senior Thesis as an Honors College experience.
  2. Students wishing to complete the capstone by writing a senior thesis must submit an application to the Chair of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) Professor India Plough ( in the spring before their senior year. Students wishing to take the Senior Thesis (RCAH 491) in either fall 2021 or spring 2022 must submit an application by March 15, 2021.
  3. The application must include:
    1. a completed, typed thesis application form (download here).
    2. a 750-word proposal. A strong proposal will include a coherent research question, discussion of why it is significant or of interest, and a clear description of how you will approach answering it. For creative works, a strong proposal will include a clearly framed creative problem, why it is significant or of interest, the means you will use to engage it, and why these means are suitable or what they contribute to your endeavor.
    3. a bibliography (minimum ten references)
    4. a 250-word "professional narrative" or "bio-sketch." This should explain how this project, as a capstone project, relates to and builds on previous work you have completed in the RCAH and at MSU. It could also include an account of resources that will be drawn on (people to consult with, etc.).

      The application should be complete, carefully written, and well-organized.

  4. The EPC is holding an informational session on effective proposal writing on March 5,2021 at 2:00. Zoom link TBA. Contact Professor Plough ( by March 1to sign up.
  5. Upon approval of the EPC, students will be given permission to enroll in RCAH 491,Senior Thesis, for the upcoming academic year.
  6. Completion of the thesis requires the following:

    1. A public presentation of the completed work, for example: through UURAF, alocal/regional conference, community partners, or an RCAH colloquium.
    2. Permanent documentation of the project submitted to the RCAH (submit toProfessor Plough). If the thesis is a written document, submission of thatdocument is sufficient. If the project includes an exhibit or performance, then thestudent and faculty advisor will agree on an appropriate format for submission.
    3. Assignment of a passing grade by the faculty advisor.