Beginning with the class of 1979, Social Studies concentrators who do not write a senior thesis will not graduate, according to a Social Studies faculty committee letter sent to sophomore concentrators yesterday.
Until 1979, as in the past, students in Social Studies will have the option of graduating either cum laude or without honors in general studies if they decide not to complete a thesis.
The committee has been considering the requirement since last fall, Michael Walzer, Professor of Government and chairman of the committee, said yesterday.
Walzer said that an increasing number of senior concentrators over the past several years have either decided not to start or not to complete their theses.
Last year, 20 students out of a total of 57 concentrators did not pass in a thesis.
Most sophomores contacted yesterday thought the decision unfair because it was made after they were already in the department.
However, Walzer said that thesis work represents one out of the three years of tutorial required of Social Studies concentrators, and "it makes little sense to excuse students from one-third of the program."
Walzer said that if a student was unable to finish a thesis as a senior, the student would presumably finish the thesis at summer school and then receive a degree.
Other limited concentrations have not had as many thesis-dropping students. Only 5 per cent of senior History and Literature concentrators have not completed theses. However, the thesis for a degree in History and Literature is not required to be as long, and counts less towards an honors degree.
Richard M. Hunt, senior lecturer in Social Studies said yesterday, "Many of our students know that the thesis is not of importance for admittance to graduate school and law school, having applied in the fall of their senior year."
Cliff Sloan '79, a Social Studies concentrator said yesterday the requirement "cuts out any flexibility."
Paul Levenson '79, said yesterday he thought it would keep people from concentrating in Social Studies as a free ride.