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CHID 491

The Senior Thesis (CHID 491 and 493; CHID 492 optional) focuses on practical approaches to formulating and pursuing intellectual questions. In CHID 491, students should start the process with a clear topic in mind (although it does not have to be a fully developed topic) and will receive direction on how to implement their idea. In this class, students will have a collaborative experience of engaging in discussion with their peers and helping each other work out ideas through the workshop format.  Students will complete the CHID 493 form (with approval from their thesis advisors) during the quarter they are taking CHID 491.

Students who are completing a 10-credit thesis will register for the CHID 491 seminar during the first quarter, followed by CHID 493 the next quarter. Students completing a 15-credit thesis will register for the CHID 491 seminar the first quarter, CHID 493 the second quarter, and CHID 492 the final quarter.  

How to decide between a 10-, or 15-credit thesis

The basic guideline for the different credit options is the following: the more complex your topic of interest, the more credits you will need to develop a satisfactory project. The 15-credit option assumes a year-long process of research and writing (or equivalent work), and the 10-credit option, a two-quarter-long process.  CHID 491, 493, and 492 should be completed in separate quarters. However, if necessary, students can choose to complete a 10 credit thesis during one quarter (491 and 493), but this would most likely mean working independently with an advisor. CHID students cannot complete 15 thesis credits in one quarter. Please note that CHID honors students must complete a 15-credit thesis.

For students who declared CHID prior to Fall 2014/2015

Beginning in the Fall 2014/2015 academic year, new CHID students must complete a 10- or 15-credit thesis project to fulfill the major requirements. Students who declared CHID as their major prior to Fall 2014, may choose to complete a 5-, 10-, or 15-credit thesis project. Should the student choose the 5-credit option, they may fulfill this requirement by either taking CHID 490, which is only offered during selected quarters, or working independently with a thesis advisor (upon their approval) during one quarter. In order to register for this option (working independently with an advisor), students will need to complete the CHID 491 form, and will register for CHID 491 B.  CHID 491 A will no longer accommodate students completing a 5 credit thesis. Instead, CHID 491 A will support students in crafting a thesis proposal and finding a thesis advisor. We strongly encourage students to consider the 10 or 15 credit thesis option. If a student decides on a 5-credit thesis option, CHID highly recommends that the student enroll in CHID 490.

CHID 490: Research Seminar is designed to help students conceive of, undertake, and finish significant research projects within the limited time of a single quarter. Each seminar will take up a broad theme around which the readings and research projects will be organized. This theme will change each quarter CHID 490 is offered. This class is designed to help students who are having a difficult time identifying a thesis topic.  CHID 490 will fulfill the 5-credit thesis option for those students who declared CHID as their major prior to the Fall 2014/2015 academic year.  *Note: You do not need to complete a 491 form to register for this course.

CHID 491 B: Independent Study is completed with a thesis advisor who is employed as an instructor at the University of Washington and has signed the CHID 491 B form agreeing to be the student’s thesis advisor for one quarter.  In order to register for CHID 491 B, students must turn in a completed CHID 491 B form to Cynthia prior to the start of quarter.  While the form must be completed prior to the start of the quarter, the advisor needs to be identified by at least week 9 of the previous quarter. CHID 491B will fulfill the 5-credit thesis option for those students who declared CHID as their major prior to the Fall 2014/2015 academic year. As CHID 491 A no longer accommodates students completing a 5-credit thesis, CHID 491 B students will not receive thesis support outside of the independent study.

How to start and finish your thesis

How to start your senior thesis:

  • Register for CHID 491
  • While taking CHID 491, you will fill out the CHID 493 Form (DOCX) (thesis proposal/application) with advisor's signature prior to registering for CHID 493.
  • Turn it in to the CHID advisor at the CHID office at, 206 543 2097, or Box 354300.

How to finish your senior thesis:

  • Turn in one copy of your thesis to your advisor and another copy to the CHID advisor before grades will be submitted for CHID 493 and/or 492.  Grades for CHID 491 will be submitted the quarter the seminar is taken.
  • Your thesis advisor will submit her/his grade upon completion.

How to find a thesis advisor

Prior to CHID 491, you will locate a faculty person who can direct your project, and who can help you determine the appropriate number of credits. You should select an instructor or professor who is knowledgeable concerning the topic in which you are interested and/or with someone you work well. Advanced graduate students can serve as thesis advisors, provided the thesis topic is within their area of knowledge, although CHID’s preference is that you work with a lecturer or tenure-track faculty. If you are having difficulty identifying a faculty member who might serve as an advisor, speak with the CHID advisor or a member of the CHID Core Faculty. Keep in mind that professors are not required to work with you (or any student) on a senior thesis, so it is important to request their help formally and courteously. See also, How to Find a Thesis Advisor.

What constitutes an acceptable thesis project

You must negotiate the form of your thesis with your thesis advisor. Regardless of the form/shape your thesis takes, you will be expected to critically engage the topic.

How the thesis project is graded

Your final grade for the first 5-credits of your thesis will be determined by the CHID 491 instructor.  The remainder of the thesis grades will be determined entirely by the directing thesis advisor after the thesis has been turned in.