Requirements for Format and Deposit of Theses for Honors

The following policy outlines the submission requirements for senior theses, portfolios, and projects presented in partial fulfillment of requirements for a degree with honors at Amherst College.

April 2020 Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, all senior theses must be submitted electronically this semester. Please follow the standard guidelines for formatting and attaching a title page with the language described in Section 1 below.
By submitting your thesis electronically, your thesis will be available to Amherst faculty and will be preserved in the College Archives. This electronic submission process does not authorize the college to grant permission for the college to provide public access to your thesis.
Please pay close attention to the file formats outlined in Section C: Additional Format Requirements for Electronic Version

Format | Deposit | 

I. Format

A. Style

The formatting of footnotes, bibliographies, tables, appendices, etc., should conform to those outlined by standard authorities such as the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Style Manual, APA Style, etc. Some departments prefer styles issued by other organizations or journals in their respective fields. Students should follow the style requested by their department and/or thesis advisor. 

B. Information to Appear in Electronic Copy of Thesis

Please create a title page for your thesis that includes the following:

1. Title.

2. Author.

3. Statement to read:

“Submitted to the Department of __________ of Amherst College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with honors.”  

For Interdisciplinary majors, the statement should read "Submitted to the Department of Special Programs of Amherst College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with honors." 

For those students submitting a thesis in either Greek or Latin, please print the statement in the following manner: "Submitted to the Department of Classics of Amherst College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with honors in Greek/Latin."

4. Name of faculty thesis advisor(s).

5. Names of readers (optional).

6. Date.

C. Additional Format Requirements for Electronic Submission

Students should submit works in formats specified by the library to ensure long-term preservation of your thesis work. Current standards are as follows

1. For works that consist primarily of text: PDF (Portable Document Format)

● Associated file type: .pdf; .pdfa

2. For non-textual works:

a. Audio

               Preferred: Broadcast WAVE

● Associated file type: .wav

Acceptable: AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format)

● Associated file types: .aif; .aiff

b. Images

Preferred: TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

● Associated file types: .tiff; .tif

Acceptable: JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

              ● Associated file types: .jpeg; .jpg; .jp2

c. Video

MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group)

● Associated file types: .mpeg; .mpg; .mp4

d. Other

● We will accept discipline-specific file formats (LaTeX files, for example).

● For web-based thesis projects, submit a PDF that includes the prescribed title page, a screen capture of the live site, and the URL so we can execute a web crawl and preserve that content on secure college network drives.


II. DEPOSIT April 2020: All 2020 senior theses must be submitted electronically.

A. Students shall submit electronic versions no later than the deadline stated in the academic calendar. 

Upload digital files into the repository at this link: https://www.ats.amherst.edu/thesis. This short video demonstrates how to upload files for submission to the Registrar. 

B. Instructions for submitting work with special requirements, including work in the plastic arts, film, and performing arts.

  1. April 2020: Students should submit these materials as digital images, digital video files, etc. No physical materials can be submitted at this time. Students should submit work involving the plastic arts, film, performing arts, and other similar activities as digital photographs of the work, prints of the film, production books, etc., accompanied by a statement of purpose.See item I.C above regarding appropriate file formats.
  2. Unless an exception is granted, all material should conform to standards in section I above. Wherever possible, non-written, physical materials should be enclosed within the binder. The Registrar's office can help with securing non-written material.
  3. If it is not economically feasible, or if it is physically impossible to deposit a nonwritten project, a statement of purpose and description of the project—prepared in the prescribed format, preceded by a title page, as a .pdf—should be submitted to the Registrar.

C. After Commencement, the Registrar will deposit electronic copies of all theses with Archives and Special Collections in Frost Library. Thesis information (including author name, title, department, and graduation year) will be added to the Five College Library Catalog; the catalog records for senior theses are then uploaded to WorldCat. Your name, thesis title, department, and year will be publicly searchable via WorldCat and the Five College Library Catalog, but the contents of your thesis will not be made public.

 III. RESTRICTIONS

A. Theses are available to members of the Faculty for examination prior to the meeting at which the Faculty votes on the degree.

B. Copyright and Licensing.

          1. By law, copyright in the thesis belongs to the author, including all rights of publication and reproduction. U.S. copyright law does not protect facts, data, or ideas: see 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).

          2. Physical and electronic copies of the submitted thesis become an official record of the Registrar and Amherst College. The author retains copyright in the work.

           3. Senior theses are preserved in the Archives & Special Collections in Frost Library where they are available for consultation. The Library will not make copies of a thesis or make anything other than basic title and author information available online without the express permission of the author.

C. If the student and/or their faculty advisor want to restrict access to their thesis, they should contact the Head of Archives & Special Collections. 

Catherine A. Epstein 

Provost and Dean of the Faculty

 Jesse Barba

 Interim Registrar

Michael Kelly

Head of Archives and Special Collections

Appendix C: An Additional Note on Copyright

Those who produce ideas, facts, and data (e.g., academic advisors) may demand credit for their work; but, by law, they may not claim copyright in such information: copyright recognizes and protects only “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression”: see 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).

Because the author (e.g., a thesis student) of a work fixed in a tangible medium owns the copyright in that work (regardless of whether a copyright symbol appears in the work, and regardless of whether that author is the sole author or a joint author with an advisor), the author (student) may, by law, disseminate or publish that work without restriction and without regard to the preferences of any co-authors or advisors.

This policy, therefore, governs only how the library may disseminate a thesis; it does not govern how the author or authors may disseminate the thesis. The college encourages advisors and advisees to agree amongst themselves before beginning thesis work how each will (or whether each will) distribute the thesis following its completion.