Completing a Gaines thesis project is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of undergraduate academic life at University of Kentucky. Fellows have the opportunity to do sustained work on topics that they choose with the help of faculty advisers. Theses are either research-supported arguments or fine/performing art works. For a list of Gaines Senior Theses from 1986 to the present, please see the document below.
General Calendar and Process
Fellows should consult the detailed Senior calendar (distributed in spring and again at fall orientation) for specific dates.
Junior year (spring): Fellows discuss topics, write prospectuses, and form faculty advisory committees with the guidance of the Gaines Center director and associate director.
Summer: Fellows research and begin drafting portions of their theses. Detailed outlines and a first installment (approximately 10-15 pages) are due at the beginning of fall semester.
Senior year (fall): Fellows continue research and draft portions of their theses, meeting regularly with the Gaines Center director and in small groups for peer workshops. They also consult with their faculty advisory committees regularly to discuss research and review drafts. By winter break, Fellows submit drafts of approximately 30 pages (or the equivalent of 3/5 of the project).
Senior year (spring): Fellows continue drafting and workshopping portions of their theses in small groups. Full first drafts are due mid-semester, and oral defenses of final versions occur in late March. Fellows present their work again in late spring at undergraduate research conferences and the UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars. A bound copy and an electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Gaines Center shortly before the end of the spring semester.
A detailed description of the thesis project (including requirements for the project, the formation of a faculty advisory committee, and grading procedures) is found below. Fellows should consult this document as they consider the senior thesis requirement.