Senior Study is key element of MC experience

Senior Study is key element of MC experience

Feb. 25, 2019

Undergraduate research has been a distinctive feature of the Maryville College curriculum since 1947, when a two-semester, faculty-supervised independent study was made a graduation requirement of all students. Although the name for it has changed over the years – Special Studies, Independent Study, Senior Thesis, Senior Study – the required project is a common experience binding alumni whose graduations span more than 70 years.

Senior Studies take a variety of forms, including conventional research, case studies and creative projects. According to the College’s current catalog, “the Senior Study requirement allows the student to exercise bold initiative and design, plan and complete a substantial piece of work, while gaining the confidence and pride that comes from accomplishment.”

Students may complain about the Senior Study in their junior and senior years, but graduates often say that they consider it to be one of their most valuable experiences at MC. In a recent survey of young alumni, more than 82 percent reported that completing independent research at the College was a “very important” or “important” factor in their career success.

Since 2016, Maryville College has joined other college and university members of the Council on Undergraduate Research in promoting the importance of “high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship” by hosting an Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The fourth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held on Fri., April 5, 2019 from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. in various locations in the Clayton Center for the Arts. The event will include presentations of scholarly work completed by MC sophomores, juniors and seniors representing all eight academic divisions. Watch the Maryville College website for more details.

To view recent Senior Study titles, visit the MC website.

In preparation for the College's Bicentennial celebration in 2019, this story is part of "Maryville Moments," a monthly feature that highlights special traditions at Maryville College. Stay tuned for next month's feature!


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.