The senior thesis is the capstone of a student’s training in NES. It is typically a focused essay of 70 to 100 double-spaced pages (or around 25,000 words of text excluding footnotes) that presents original research on a topic related to the history, societies, religions, politics and/or cultures of the Near East. As with the JP, the department does not require students to use sources in a Near Eastern language but does strongly encourage students who are sufficiently proficient to do so.

On this page you will find an overview of the senior thesis deadlines for the academic year, followed by a detailed guide to the thesis research and writing process.

2023–2024 Deadlines

Sept. 8 (Fri.)
Submit senior thesis topic to the NES Undergraduate Administrator.

Week of Sept. 11
Students notified of thesis adviser assignments. Students who wish to work with a particular faculty member may contact him or her as well as the Director of Undergraduate Studies to request this. We cannot guarantee to accommodate such requests but do take them seriously and do our best to honor them.

Weeks of Sept. 18 and Sept. 25
Students meet with thesis adviser

Oct. 16 (Mon.) 
Submit five-page thesis proposal to adviser. The proposal should include (at minimum): 

  • description of topic, scope of the project, and methodological approach you plan to take
  • discussion of how your coursework at Princeton or elsewhere has prepared you to pursue the topic
  • a brief survey of sources and discussion of the kinds of evidence you plan to use
  • a discussion of the contribution your work will make to the existing scholarship in your area
  • a preliminary bibliography
  • a preliminary writing plan or chapter outline

PLEASE NOTE:  Your adviser may require that you submit a revised proposal before you move on to the research and writing phase.

Nov. 20 (Mon., 3:00 pm) 
Submit partial first draft (20 pages) to adviser

Nov. 29 (Wed., 4:30 pm)
Deadline for applications for winter break/intersession research travel funding via SAFE.

Jan.  8 (Mon.) 
Submit draft of additional twenty pages to adviser

Feb. 5 (Mon.) 
Submit draft of additional twenty pages to adviser

Mar. 11 (Mon.)
Submit draft of entire thesis to adviser

April 15 (Mon., 4:30 pm) 
E-mail one electronic copy in PDF to the Undergraduate Administrator. (If your adviser or second reader requests a printed copy of your thesis, you are to submit it to the NES departmental office in Jones 110 by the same deadline.)

EXTENSIONS:  Extensions of independent work deadlines may be granted only under extraordinary circumstances, usually involving medical conditions, and students must petition the departmental representative in advance of the deadline.  Individual advisers cannot grant extensions.  For extensions beyond Dean's date, students must consult their residential college Dean or Director of Studies.

April 30 (Tues., 4:30)
Email Senior Comprehensive Statement to Undergraduate Administrator

May 2 (Thurs.) 
Students receive comments from first and second readers

May 8–9 (Wed.–Thurs.)
Senior Comprehensive Orals (You MUST leave these dates open and unscheduled.)  Each exam allotted 60 minutes

May 27 (Mon.) 
Class Day Reception

May 28 (Tues.) 
Commencement Day

Writing a Senior Thesis in NES: A Guide to Independent Work