The Senior Project (BA and BS Programs)

The senior project is a collegewide requirement for both the BA and BS. (Students majoring in liberal studies are required to complete a senior capstone course.) It is the capstone of the Purchase educational experience and the signature of our curriculum. Students devote two semesters to an in-depth, original, and creative study. The credits for both semesters’ work are awarded only upon successful completion of the entire project, which may take the form of a research paper (laboratory or field), an exhibition, a piece of creative writing, or a translation. No more than two semesters of senior project credit may be applied toward a student’s degree requirements.

The senior project must be sponsored by a member of the board of study in which the student has majored. After the student has chosen a faculty sponsor, he or she should consult that sponsor about the choice of a second reader.

At the end of the first semester, a grade of SP (satisfactory progress) is recorded to indicate that work is proceeding on schedule. The project or thesis is evaluated by the responsible faculty member, who obtains comments from other involved faculty. The thesis, signed by the sponsor and the second reader, must be submitted to the Purchase College Library by the last day of the semester. In the event a senior project cannot be completed on time, it is subject to the same rules that govern other incomplete coursework. However, if the senior project is not submitted to the Library by (a) the deadline for resolving grades of Incomplete (I) for the fall semester or (b) August 15 for the spring semester, an additional registration for the senior project is required. This policy supersedes any arrangements for “extended incompletes” that may have been made. Special permission from the sponsor and board-of-study coordinator is required to register beyond a third semester for the senior project.

Acceptable grades for senior projects are SP (satisfactory progress), UP (unsatisfactory progress), or a passing grade of A through D. Grades of F are only acceptable in cases of plagiarism.

Note: Any updates during 2013–2015 to the grading policies for senior projects will be available on the College Policies site,

Accelerated Status in the Senior Year
Students may be given accelerated status in their senior year by completing the senior project in one semester. Acceleration requires permission of the advisor, senior project sponsor, appropriate board of study, and/or the chair or director of the student’s school.

Senior Project Registration in Summer Session
Matriculated students may register for either half of the senior project in the summer session, provided:

  1. The principal sponsor can certify to the chair or director of the student’s school that he or she will be present for a significant portion of the summer to provide guidance and direction to the student.
  2. The project is approved and the registration is allowed for the summer by the board-of-study coordinator and the chair or director of the student’s school.
  3. The student registers and pays for the summer session work: 3 credits for a 6-credit senior project or 4 credits for an 8-credit senior project. (Students cannot complete the equivalent of two semesters of senior project work during summer session.) Students who register for the second half of the senior project during summer session must complete the project and deposit a copy in the Library no later than August 15.

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