Thesis - Reading Lists
The reading list is a unique aspect of our thesis process, distinguishing the Honors College at the University of Maine from other Honors programs and colleges. It also differentiates our defenses from masters or doctoral defenses. We believe that Honors students should not only excel in their classes and produce independent scholarship in their chosen disciplines, but, as we are awarding an undergraduate degree, they should have a strong foundation across the breadth of the academic spectrum.
Each student’s reading list is made up of some twelve to fifteen titles which have played a significant part in her/his academic development. The term “text” is interpreted broadly; one or two films, musical compositions, works of art, or buildings may be included. Reading list should include texts that are reflective of the student’s undergraduate years: from Honors courses, from other courses, or from private experience. Often it is appropriate to include one or two texts encountered before arriving at the University of Maine. As a former Honors College Associate put it, “The reading list should draw a picture of the student as an undergraduate.”
In recent years, we have required that reading lists are annotated. In addition to the title of the work and the author/director, the student provides paragraphs briefly describing each work and perhaps some evaluation. Alternatively a essay describing the works through a narrative would serve the same purpose. Regardless of format, the annotation need not be lengthy but should provide an entrée into the works for the student’s thesis committee.
Students often ask for examples of past reading lists. Even though they are very idiosyncratic, we’ve decided to post some here. We have provided an example of both the narrative and annotated list format. These examples should be regarded as indicative of the substance and thoughtfulness committees will be expecting. They should not be viewed as models to be imitated.
Sample 1 – (Narrative Style)
Sample 2 – (Annotated List Style)