Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Rubric for Evaluating Senior Thesis Projects

From the Geology Department, Central Michigan University


This instrument is used for program assessment, and is treated as a capstone assessment tool to examine how well the Option A (undergraduate thesis) students are able to apply their knowledge learned in the program to disseminate research findings and to interpret data.


This tool is handed out in paper form to all faculty members attending the senior thesis defenses, and is collected after each defense. The faculty members evaluate the student's effectiveness based on their presentation, their written thesis and their ability to answer questions regarding their research work.

Use of the Data

We use this data purely as one program assessment tool as an informal summative measure of the students preparation for graduate school. We track the composite scores given by all the faculty for the students, removing any personally-identifiable information.


This instrument has been useful for evaluating whether we have taught the students the skills necessary to be successful in geoscience-related graduate programs or industry jobs. We use these rubric results in conjunction with other assessment tools such as graduate school retentions rates, job retention rates, etc. through alumni surveys and contacts.


Download the Thesis Defense Rubric filled out by Faculty