The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires each student to have an undergraduate research experience, preferably at the senior level. In our department, all seniors will participate in a research project with a faculty mentor.
Seniors have two options by which to accomplish this important part of their Villanova experience:
Option 1 (Single Semester Senior Research Project): This is a one-semester program and the student may enroll in GEV 6200 during either semester, or during a summer session (approved on a case–by–case basis). Once the student and professor agree on a topic, the student will conduct research—under the guidance of the professor—and develop a paper and poster for presentation during Projects Day. The individual professor will grade the paper, and the poster will be a jointly graded based on faculty input.
Option 2 (Two Semester Senior Thesis): This is a two-semester program. During the fall semester, the student will define a project, conduct a literature review, and undertake initial research by enrolling in GEV 6210 (Senior Thesis Research I). During the spring semester, the student will enroll in GEV 6220 (Senior Thesis Research II) to complete the research and writing phase of the project. The senior thesis option includes an oral presentation to the faculty and fellow students as part of the department’s Projects Day.
This is a capstone research experience, tailored to the individual student’s level of experience and disciplinary background. Regardless of the major, we implement the independent study–senior thesis research component of the curriculum keeping in mind six fundamental outcomes for our graduates:
(1) Our students must acquire an understanding of the fundamental principles basic to science or social science research;
(2) Our students should become scientifically literate people who view the physical or human world in a disciplined and objective manner;
(3) Our students should have an intrinsic capacity to recognize challenges—scientific or human—and leverage their understanding of technology when confronting and solving complex problems.
(4) Our students develop the ability to speak and write clearly, using style, vocabulary, and organization appropriate to the audience and venue.
(5) Our students will learn to correctly employ standard conventions in written and oral communications in a scientific context. Students can focus on a purpose; develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading; understand that there are common formats for different kinds of writing requirements; practice appropriate means of documenting their work; and use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences.
(6) The senior independent study project/thesis also provides a valuable professional experience for our students. As part of this project, they will:
(a) Understand the importance of organization, timeliness, and professional speaking.
(b) In preparation for possible work and graduate school experiences, they will become familiar with the exacting standards that are observed in the preparation of a professional paper.
Senior Thesis Topics From Previous Years Given Below: