Guidelines for Honors Thesis

Guidelines for Honors Thesis

To be eligible for departmental honors a student must have a 3.5 grade point average within the department and must complete a thesis.  Thesis registration involves two semesters of enrollment in MUSC4097 [formerly 239] and MUSC4098 [formerly 259].  Research Proposal/Bibiliography preparation in MUSC4097 in spring of the junior year is followed by completion of the written Thesis in Fall of the student’s senior year with registration in MUSC4098.  Each course is .5 c.u.’s.  Completion of both courses (1.0) can qualify towards ONE elective in the Music major. 

The thesis should be finished in one semester, the fall of the senior year—MUSC4098. It usually consists of a research paper that should be between 30 and 60 double-spaced pages, excluding bibliography. If in addition to a paper component, you wish to include a film, a documentary, a composition, or a performance, please discuss this option with the Undergraduate Chair and the prospective instructor/adviser during the fall of the junior year.

If you are not able to take MUS4097 in the spring of your junior year because you are abroad, please contact the Undergraduate Chair during the preceding fall in order to make the necessary plans for adjustment.

MUSC4097 [formerly 239] .5 c.u.

During the fall of your junior year, please meet with the undergraduate chair to begin discussing  the thesis project and talk about which standing member of the music faculty will supervise the research. You will need to determine your supervisor’s availability to advise you both in spring of the junior year and in the fall of your senior year.   Once the topic and supervisor are determined, you will register for MUSC4097 in spring of the junior year.   During the course of your registration in MUSC4097, you will further identify a topic, start your research, and write a three-page research proposal, including bibliography. With the help of the Undergraduate Chair, you will schedule a meeting with the Head of the Music Library (Liza Vick), together with the other juniors who are researching the topic for their thesis.

Please submit the proposal to both your Supervisor and the Undergraduate Chair (PDF, by May 20 of your junior year).  There are opportunities to find summer research funding at Penn and we encourage you to apply to as many as you and your instructor/adviser deem necessary.

MUSC4098 [formerly 259] .5 c.u.

Students will register for MUSC4098 (.5 c.u.) in the fall of your senior year.  During this semester, you will complete your writing of the thesis, working with your thesis advisor and meeting periodically with him/her to report on your progress and to exchange responses to your various formulations, hypotheses, and discoveries. Once the paper is completed and approved by your adviser (by the end of the fall semester), one copy (PDF) should be sent to the Undergraduate Chair (by January 10th of the senior year) and one hard copy (bound) should be submitted to the Undergraduate Coordinator by February 1st.

Please note:  Only standing faculty members of the Music Department can advise the two semester independent study that involves the thesis. In some instances, it may be appropriate that a standing faculty member be chosen outside the Department, as approved by the Undergraduate Chair during the fall of the junior year.