HSOC 420

HSOC 420 is the required class for all students who are considering writing a senior honors thesis.  The objective of the class is to prepare you to write your thesis by systematically guiding you through the  research process.  It is a collaborative class that depends on critical and thoughtful participation and engagement, both with your own topic and with one another’s projects. By the end of the course you will:

1.  Understand how the thesis embodies the goals of the HSOC major
2.  Articulate research questions and objectives
3. Conduct independent research, engaging with primary and secondary sources
4. Analyze primary sources and contextualize them with scholarly conversations within: 

A. The core disciplines of history, sociology, and/or anthropology as relevant to your research problem,

    B. Supplemental disciplines, such as public health, bioethics, environmental studies, political science, business/economics, and law, as relevant to your research problem.
5.  Determine an appropriate methodology, based in one of the 3 core disciplines
6.  Understand and engage with scholarly audiences
7.  Write a summary of your research problem, review of literature, and methodology in a clear way that targets an HSOC audience, as well as other audiences interested in your research problem
8. Write a 20-page original research paper based on your area of research
9. A 3-4 page thesis proposal, to be reviewed by the HSOC faculty committee


Applying for HSOC 420  - Applications are due on Monday, November 20th, 2017

This is what you need to have in place or in process to demonstrate on the application for HSOC 420 
•    Overall Penn GPA of 3.3 or better and HSOC GPA of 3.6 or better
•    HSOC 100 or 111 completed (or be registered for one of them in the spring, to be taken concurrently with HSOC 420)
•    A viable topic or topics
          - This must be a scholarly project that uses the methodologies, and is situated within, the HSOC core disciplines of history, anthropology, and/or sociology
          - Efficacy studies and policy/intervention projects are not suitable for theses, but may be pursued as independent studies
•    A passion for independent, scholarly research
•    A sense of potential advisors


Application Requirements – DUE NOVEMBER 20, 2017


- Completed Application Form (download)  HSOC 420 App17.docx

- One-page typed statement explaining your research experience(s) in and out of class, and how this experience has influenced your thinking about potential research topics (250-500 words)

-One-page typed statement explaining your idea for a topic including a possible research question, and the scope of your project (dates, place, etc); how it relates to the fields of history/anthropology/sociology (250-500 words)

A typed list of one or more people you have talked to about your thesis idea to see if it is a viable topic to research. Please give their name and affiliation (department or school).  You do not need an adviser at this point.

- A copy of the best paper you have written at Penn so far.


NOTE: You cannot register yourself for HSOC 420. The department will register you for HSOC 420 when you are approved, after evaluating applications.