Welcome to your final year in the CIS! This guide will answer many questions you might have about your senior year as a CIS major. Please consult the Schedule for Theses for more information. If you have additional concerns that aren’t covered here, don’t hesitate to contact Professor Scott Denham. Juniors, see the junior year outline notes.
First, a common question: Is there a prescribed length for a CIS thesis? No. There has never been a prescribed page length for the senior thesis in the Center. Each student works closely with advisors to find the best scope and format for presenting a year-long research project. Some theses are around forty pages, some nearly one hundred pages. Some include ancillary digital information, images, original web sites, data sets, and the like; some include substantial appendices of interviews, transcripts, translations, etc. But the thesis itself is a crisp and concise document. Quality not quantity is the goal!
Extended Loan Privileges & Carrels - Little Library
CIS Seniors can get extended loan privileges according to the guidelines available from the library. The library has established the following procedures for seniors writing theses: students must request extended check-out for thesis materials each time they bring books to the counter; all other books will have regular due dates. Books on extended loan are subject to recall; if books are needed for the spring semester, they must be renewed before the end of the fall semester. The Center will send the library a list of CIS seniors. If you have any problems with extended loan privileges, let us know.
Center Seniors can apply for carrels in the library by application through the library only. Center Seniors can apply for carrels in the library by using the on-line application form that the library activates each spring semester. Semester-long lockers can also be requested using the Library's on-line form. Seniors should request a carrel or a locker in the spring semester of their Junior year so that they will receive an assignment the following academic year.
Funding in Support of the Senior Thesis
The CIS provides a modest amount of funding to seniors in support of the thesis project. Each CIS senior may request up to $150 during this academic year. You may request reimbursement at any time, but no later than May 1st of each year. Relevant reimbursable expenses include: lab equipment and supplies; photocopying or image production expenses related to the thesis; conference expenses when the student is presenting information related to the thesis project. Books, since most are available through interlibrary loan, are generally not covered.
In addition, the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has some funding available to students who are presenting at conferences. Please contact that office (704-894-2204) for more information regarding these funds. These are in addition to other normal competitive college grant funding (Abernethy, Dean Rusk, DRI, Kemp, HHMI, etc.).
CIS funding is provided only upon written approval of the director, and then by reimbursement rather than in advance. Save all receipts and submit them to the Program Assistant. If you have questions about what qualifies for reimbursement, let us know.
CIS 495 and CIS 496
In order to graduate with a CIS major, each student must successfully complete the two thesis courses, CIS 495 and 496. You must register for CIS 495 in the fall semester and for CIS 496 in the spring. One or both of these courses can be taken as a fifth course in exceptional circumstances.
All students taking CIS 495 in the fall will receive a grade of "I" (Incomplete). This will revert to a letter grade at the end of the spring semester when the thesis is complete. CIS 495 and CIS 496 grades are often the same, but do not have to be; grades are assigned by the CIS director in consultation with the advisers. The 495 grade normally represents process (meeting deadlines, informal lunch presentations, quality of the bibliography or literature review and outline, keeping in touch with advisers, etc.) and the 496 grade the product (the written thesis, formal presentation in April, and the defense). The two final grades are generally accompanied by a written evaluation composed by both advisers and the director. Most advisers choose to give informal feedback at the end of the first semester.
Meeting with Other CIS Majors
As interdisciplinary majors, your contact with other CIS students is an important part of your Center experience. As in the past, we host weekly coffees for all CIS majors, faculty advisors, and guests. Attend these events and get to know other CIS majors and faculty involved in the Center.
Use of Carolina Inn
Center Majors can get keys to the Inn for after-hours studying. A $20 refundable deposit is required to receive a key from the CIS Program Assistant, and each senior must read and sign a Carolina Inn Guidelines form. The Inn has wireless and one public networked computer, but no printing for students.