The thesis should be typed in at least 12 point font, double-spaced, with adequate margins (at least 1 in. top, bottom, and right; 1.5 in. on the left for binding) on standard size paper. The written format of the thesis should be decided in consultation with your advisor, but in general the style should be the same as that used for the Ph.D. thesis.
Copies of past Molecular Biology theses can be examined either from your advisor or in Mudd Library. Theses for the class of 1991 through 2000 are housed in the Biology Library.
Thesis Deadline: April 25, 2013 between 1 - 5 PM.
Students must submit the following to the MOL academic administration:
- Two hard bound copies of the thesis
- One unbound copy of the thesis (no binding)
- One electronic version on disc of the abstract and thesis
- One bound copy will be given to your advisor, the second bound copy will be used by the second reader of your thesis and ultimately be displayed in the Biology Library, and the unbound copy will be used by the third thesis reader and later used by the University Archives.
Extensions beyond Dean's date can only be granted by your college Dean with the approval of the Undergraduate Studies Committee. They will only be considered under extreme circumstances. Any thesis submitted to the office after the deadline set by the department (or by the Dean in extraordinary circumstances) will be penalized one-third of a letter grade per day. In addition, University regulations preclude a student who submits a late thesis without prior approval from receiving departmental honors. Extension requests should be submitted via email to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and should contain a full explanation of why the request is being made.
Each thesis is read and graded by the student's advisor and two other faculty members. Two of the three readers must be affiliated with the Molecular Biology Department. In late March, Molecular Biology seniors will be asked to submit a list of potential readers. The Undergraduate Committee assigns readers and aims to accommodate the wishes of the students while taking into consideration the topic area and the availability of the reader.
The final thesis grade is the weighted average of the three grades—50% from the advisor, 25% from the 1st reader and 25% from the 2nd reader. The graders use a rubric to score the thesis and grades are assigned by the Undergraduate Committee with the approval of the faculty. The Molecular Biology grading strictly adheres to Princeton University's grading practices.
Students are required to present their work to the two (non-advisor) thesis readers during an oral exam, at which the advisor is not present. PowerPoint presentations are not allowed. The exam usually takes about one-half hour and students should be prepared to describe the background of the thesis, defend its contents, and propose future directions. The grade for the oral defense will be the average of the two from the (non-advisor) faculty members. A grading rubric will be used by the examination committee. Grades are assigned by the Undergraduate Committee with the approval of the faculty.
The Office of the Dean of the College and the Department of Molecular Biology have funds available to help students cover expenses directly related to senior thesis research.
Funding requests may be made for activities or materials that are not normally supported by the laboratories in the department. For example, proposals for travel to a professional meeting or to learn a method in another laboratory may be eligible, whereas requests for supplies used at Princeton would not. Awards are typically made in the amount of $250.
The applications will be available in 408 West College. Interested students must pick up instructions and an application form and submit a one-two page proposal, including a budget, to the senior thesis adviser. Advisors should complete an evaluation form for the proposal and forward the material to Elena Chiarchiaro. Seniors who are enrolled in an interdepartmental program may request an additional letter of support from the Program Director. Please submit applications to Elena Chiarchiaro, Lewis Thomas Laboratory 119A.
Thesis Writer's Workshop
The Senior Thesis Writer's Workshop is a resource for undergraduates preparing their theses. Instructors conduct workshops for Molecular Biology seniors to help them with various aspects of thesis writing and preparation. The workshops cover an assortment of topics, including organizing the document, writing in the scientific style, and developing computer skills necessary for the preparation of a professional document. These workshops are offered to Molecular Biology seniors throughout the academic year. More information about the Thesis Writer's Workshop is available to MOL seniors on Blackboard.
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2012
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2011
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2010
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2009
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2008
- Senior Thesis Abstracts for Class of 2007
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY SENIOR THESIS
- Undergraduate Admission "The Senior Thesis"
- The thesis: quintessentially Princeton
- Thesis-writing experiences