Junior Essay

Every junior is required to write a research paper of approximately 6,000 words (not counting notes and bibliography) that utilizes both primary and secondary sources during the second semester of junior tutorial.

The major goal of the essay is to provide experience in doing the kind of sustained research, thinking, and writing that the senior thesis demands. Junior essays can serve as preliminary explorations of the senior thesis topic, but in many cases they do not. The student’s tutor and an outside tutor will formally evaluate the essay, assigning it High Honors, Honors, Low Honors, or a Recommended for Review reading. These evaluations and the essay itself will become a permanent part of the student’s record. The essay will also be letter-graded as part of the second-semester grade for junior tutorial.

Students who are abroad in the junior spring will still complete their junior essays with the guidance of their History & Literature tutor. Students who successfully complete the Junior Essay process while abroad will have their spring Junior Tutorial requirement waived. Successful completion requires students to be in regular touch with their tutors and to earn two honors-level readings. Students studying abroad can also discuss their plans to complete their junior essays with the Associate Director of Studies. 

Junior Essay Prizes 2021

The Oliver-Dabney and Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior Essay Prizes recognize students whose work shows exceptional promise. 

Oliver-Dabney Junior Essay Prize 
Matteo Wong, “‘They Won’t Know Anything Else’: Art, Labor, and the Simultaneity of Japanese Americans and American Indians in WWII Internment”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior Essay Prize 

Michael Baick, “Two Burial Grounds in Longmeadow, Massachusetts: How 19th-Century Local Histories Erased Black and Indigenous Lives and Deaths”

Amanda Su, “Media, Markets, and Multiculturalism: The Representation Politics of the Documentary Form in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats (1998)”