The culminating work of a student’s education at Westminster Academy is the delivery and defense of a senior thesis. It is a comprehensive and integrative project that requires students to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout their education at Westminster to craft a thoughtful and persuasive argument on a chosen topic. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate how much they have learned about research, reasoning, and rhetoric. The thesis topic must be an issue of depth and significance about which Christians can reasonably disagree. In addition, researching the topic, constructing the paper, and defending one’s thesis orally will provide excellent training for upcoming college and life experiences.
In one sense, the senior thesis is little more than another (albeit longer) rhetoric paper. However, students are expected to prepare and submit this paper as formal proof of the knowledge and skills they have acquired as classically educated students. It should be, therefore, the very best essay our students have written thus far.
The paper must be rigorously researched, carefully documented, and winsomely presented. Students must demonstrate their ability to:
- Weave together facts and arguments in a cohesive manner
- Gain an audience’s trust by exhibiting competence and confidence in their research
- Explain the context and significance of their thesis
- Develop an argument that is logical and persuasive
- Support their thesis using primary and secondary sources as evidence
- Effectively and eloquently communicate their arguments to an audience
- Students will be given 15-20 minutes to present their thesis and defend their position, followed by a period of up to an additional 15 minutes of questioning and discussion with the Capstone faculty.
Topics this year include:
- Preserving Traditions in an Era of Progress
- The Case Against Captivity: Orcinus Orca
- Being a Friend, Not a Fixer: Why Christians Should Understand Depression
- Superheroes: Sunday School at the Movie Theater?
- This is No Laughing Matter: The Deterioration of the Humor Industry
- Buildings That Build Us: The Importance of Good Architecture
- Concerning Confederate Monuments
- Engaging with the Arts
- Unfamiliarity Breeds Contempt: A Closer Look at Pitbulls
- The Problem with Modern Feminism
- Hannah’s Hope
- The Uplifting of Down Syndrome
- Transcendence: Why Christians Should Appreciate Modern Art
- Five Lives a Day; The Importance of Childhood Therapy
- To Infinity and Beyond: The Colonization of Mars
- Why We Still Need Hymns
- Family Matters: Why We Need the Nuclear Family
- Build-A-Baby: Genetic Modification as a Means of Cosmetic Human Enhancement
- Finding the Cure: Civility in America
This year’s presentations will take place April 24-26 at 1 p.m. in the Schaeffer Memorial Chapel at Kingsway Christian Church, and April 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilson Chapel at Christ United Methodist Church. Following the Friday night presentations will be a small reception for the students and audience.
A complete schedule can be found here: wamemphis.com/senior-thesis