Honors Commonwealth Scholar

Commonwealth Scholar Thesis Option: By researching, writing, and defending an approved honors thesis and fulfilling the above requirements, honors students may graduate as Commonwealth Scholars. This yearlong independent research project will culminate in a public presentation and defense of a thesis. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore a topic of interest at a deep level, and is outstanding preparation for graduate studies. Guidelines for Prospectus and Thesis here (*.pdf). Project Timetable and Schedule (*.docx).


Madeleine McKeon, Commonwealth Scholar, 2019

My Commonwealth Scholar Thesis, entitled The Archbishop and the King: Church and State in Twelfth-Century England, examined the relationship between Thomas Becket (archbishop of Canterbury) and King Henry II,  and the impact that this relationship (known as the “the Becket controversy”) had on English religious culture in the 12th century and beyond.

Working on this thesis was one of the best academic challenges I took on in college. The project was so multifaceted—there was the creative portion of the construction and the writing of the thesis; there was the analysis that went into the reading and research; and there was the challenge of presenting and sharing all of my work.  The amount of support I received (from my thesis advisor, my major/minors advisors, the library staff) made the project not only achievable but enjoyable. The opportunities that developed because of my thesis, like presenting at a national research conference, were invaluable. It was a long, often messy, process but I learned so much about how I work and think, how to “do” history, and about a topic that I loved.


Jaclyn Ordway

Jaclyn Ordway, Commonwealth Scholar, 2017

"Writing my thesis was a rewarding process. I learned so much about methodology, my topic, and my own writing. While this project was challenging, I am glad that I chose to do the Commonwealth Thesis, since it offered me the opportunity to closely examine a topic I am interested in and pushed me to improve both my writing and my presentation skills."