Expectations for Mentors – Senior Thesis

Expectations for Mentors (The Senior Thesis Committee)

The Thesis Director

The Thesis Director (also known as the thesis advisor or First Reader) will oversee the project from its inception to its final form, and will be the student’s primary guide for matters of substance, organization, and presentation. Before agreeing to serve as a thesis director, faculty members should consider both their own expertise and the student’s area of interest. Although it is not necessary to have a direct alignment of a faculty member’s specialization and a student’s thesis topic, the thesis director needs to have enough subject knowledge to effectively direct the thesis.

The Thesis Director’s general responsibilities include:

  • Helping the student choose a topic that will involve original research, and guiding the student to appropriate scholarship on the topic.
  • Assisting the student to obtain the necessary supplies and equipment.
  • Providing training in needed techniques and procedures.
  • Helping the student to set up a workable research schedule.
  • Reviewing and commenting on the student’s regularly written progress reports and drafts of the thesis;

Additional specific responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining familiarity with the Senior Thesis program requirements.
  • Working with the student to develop a proposal.
  • Obtaining approval from the Human Subjects Review Board (if using human subjects).
  • Helping the student to select a second reader.
  • Arranging with the student an appropriate number of contact hours per week while he or she is enrolled in UNIV- 401 and UNIV-402.
  • Acting as moderator for the oral defense of the thesis.
  • Submitting an “S” grade at the end of the first semester (assuming the work has been satisfactory; if not, please contact the URP office).
  • Submitting final grades for both UNIV-401 and UNIV-402 after the defense of the thesis.

The Second Reader

The Second Reader is typically a member of the student’s department with research expertise in the area of the thesis. This reader is selected by the student in consultation with the Thesis Director and must be chosen before the student submits the Senior Thesis proposal (usually during the student’s Junior year).

The Third Reader

The Third Reader represents the University at large, and is selected from the members of the Board of Senior Thesis Readers. This person is not a member of the thesis writer’s Major department, and is not ordinarily an expert in the research area of the thesis. Third Readers are appointed by the Undergraduate Research Program. Each Board member serves as third reader for 3-5 thesis candidates; these students meet as a group once each semester with their Third Reader to discuss ongoing research. The Third Reader will also review and approve the thesis proposal and progress report. Finally, the Third Reader will read a final draft of the thesis, prepare questions, attend the defense, and fill out and submit the Third Reader Defense Report Form to the Undergraduate Research Program. Please email undergradresearch@udel.edu if you are interested in joining the Board of Senior Thesis Readers.

The Optional Fourth Reader

It is possible for a team of two faculty members to jointly direct a thesis. In this case, the student will still need to select another faculty member to serve as “second” reader. This would create a four person committee, with two directors, a second reader, and a third reader.