The Senior Thesis Colloquium in the Program in European Cultural Studies is a highlight of the program for many of our certificate students. ECS students write their senior theses under the direction of advisors from their home departments, and are not required by ECS to focus on a European topic. They receive additional mentoring and guidance from ECS graduate affiliates. This allows for full participation in the senior thesis colloquium by all ECS students, including those with departmental concentrations in engineering and the natural sciences.
For a period of 6-8 weeks during the senior year, typically beginning in early February but sometimes including a session or two before winter recess, ECS seniors meet once a week, over a meal, to address common problems of research, conceptualization, organization, and writing under the supervision of the Director of the Program.
In advance of each weekly session, two or three students each submit a sample of their thesis work for close, critical reading by all members of the colloquium. During the sessions, students make introductory presentations of their projects, which are followed by discussions of the submitted work. Active participation in discussion is expected of all members of the colloquium each week.
Though many ECS students do address European topics in their theses, this is not a requirement of the Program. For the purposes of the Senior Thesis Colloquium, certificate students from the natural sciences or engineering may submit a paper written for an ECS course for circulation and discussion, or they may opt to share material drawn from their thesis research and discuss aspects of their projects that intersect with the broader concerns of the colloquium. The Senior Thesis Colloquium is regularly praised by ECS students as a signal moment in their Princeton careers.