American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Senior Thesis Rules


Senior Thesis Rules

Every student at AUCA must complete a year-long senior project. Depending on the student’s program of study, the senior project can take a form of:

  1. a senior thesis paper, independent, supervised scholarship on a topic of interest, which is intended to serve as a vehicle for developing the student’s research and scholarly capability. The nature of the senior thesis research can be theoretical, empirical, historical, qualitative, ethnographic, or analytical, according to what is appropriate to the student’s area of study. Working on senior thesis paper involves critical reading, evaluation and analysis of research and theoretical literature, problem definition, research design and analysis, and the written and oral presentation of findings and conclusions, or
  2. other piece of sustained, supervised individual work in the student’s field of study, while building on a foundation of both content and contexts formed over the course of a student’s undergraduate experience. The project should demonstrate the individual student’s capacity to plan, commit, and act while confronting complexity, recognizing limitations, and making interpretive choices.

To ensure uniformity of policies regarding senior projects as well as fairness in grading, it is necessary to have a single policy regarding senior projects across the university.


Part 1—Preparation for Senior Project

  1. a) Each program should provide some form of a junior seminar in the second semester of the junior year. This seminar might take the form of a methodology class, but it should also encourage students to think about their theme of their project and possible supervisors.
  2. b) Each student should sign up for a course devoted to his/her senior project in both the fall and spring semester of the senior year.
  3. c) If programs do not offer Senior Seminars in the second semester, they should offer non-credit group seminars in which students can present their work to each other and receive feedback from other their peers and perhaps faculty as well. Such informal seminars can take a variety of forms.
  4. d) The Program chair is responsible for assigning a project supervisor. September 30 is the deadline by which students must have lined up a supervisor and at least a preliminary project topic. Students who have not managed to identify a supervisor and/or a topic by this time should be given some kind of special advising.
  5. e) The deadline to submit Senior Projects is April 30.


Part 2—Senior Project Grading

  1. a) Senior Seminar faculty gives grade for the course. It is up to the programs to decide whether the supervisor’s grade is part of the Senior Seminar grade.
  2. b) The faculty member who directs the project should not grade the completed project. Instead, each completed project should be reviewed and graded by two faculty members whowere not supervisors of the project.
  3. c) The project supervisor can be present at the oral defense and is permitted to ask questions. His/her opinion can be solicited by the examiners, but he/she does not give a grade to the oral performance. The oral performance grade is determined by the examiners present.
  4. d) The final grade consists of two parts: the written thesis or completed project constitutes 67% and the oral defense constitutes 33% of the final grade.

Posted (updated) on the web site on October 27, 2020.



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