Evaluation of the Thesis

The Faculty Adviser is ultimately responsible for finding readers for the thesis. Students are encouraged, however, to pass on any suggestions for readers they may have to the Faculty Adviser.

Two readers are assigned to each thesis. Grading is based on the system below. If the readings return with widely disparate grades, e.g. a summa and a cum, the opinion of a third reader is sought.

The final thesis grade is the average of the two readers' grades. Summa is given only rarely, because it means that, in the reader's judgment, the thesis is extraordinarily original, powerfully argued, beautifully written, in short --- remarkable.

Theses in the "magna" range have one or more truly outstanding qualities. They take on interesting and challenging subjects and handle them with skill and independence. The prose should be excellent.

A "cum" means that very good work has been done and reasonable expectations for handling the subject have been met. A "cum" should not represent merely the satisfactory completion of a task.

A student does not automatically receive a cum minus merely because he or she has written a thesis. A grade of "not worthy of honors" is reserved for those circumstances where the thesis is hastily and carelessly constructed, a mere summary of existing material, or is poorly thought through.