International and Global Studies Thesis Guidelines and Deadlines

IGS Senior Thesis Declaration Form: PDF Format   Word Format


The International and Global Studies program offers majors the opportunity to write a thesis. The thesis must be written over at least two terms. To receive departmental honors, students must write a thesis.

Students have the option of writing a fall-winter, winter-spring, fall-spring or spring-fall thesis. However, students wishing to write a spring-fall thesis must get specific approval for such a schedule from the appropriate track director.

For students graduating in 2017 (2016)

Students should be aware that many advisers require a methodology course before registering for IGST 070X. Please note that some methodology courses themselves have prerequisites. It is therefore important for students to meet with their track directors as early in their career as possible in order to discuss their interest in writing a thesis.


Students are eligible to write a senior honors thesis if they have a 3.5 GPA* or better in all courses that count for the major (including all language courses plus major courses taken abroad).

(*See below for the definition of the International and Global Studies GPA.)


Honors will be awarded to students with a GPA of 3.5 and a thesis grade of B+, high honors to students with a GPA of 3.7 and a thesis grade of A- or A, and highest honors to students with a GPA of 3.8 and a thesis grade of A.

* The International and Global Studies GPA is calculated on the basis of those courses that satisfy or could potentially satisfy the requirements for the major.  All courses that could count for the major will be used in the calculation of GPA for purposes of determining honors, and include all language courses, all disciplinary courses, all regional courses, and all courses with an IGST designation. For the class of 2017 (2016), these courses include all language courses, all regional courses, all global courses, all courses taken abroad, and all courses with an IGST designation.
Note: Thesis grades do not count in the calculation of the GPA for honors.


The thesis should be between 70-90 double-spaced pages with normal, 1" margins. If the thesis is written in one of the IGS languages, the thesis should be between 40-50 pages.

For guidelines on submitting the final IGST thesis click here.

Advising and Registration

The advising and registration procedures are as follows:

During the semester preceding the start of the thesis...

1. By the end of week 5, the student should contact the track director, and submit an unofficial transcript and an advising check-sheet listing all courses counting towards the major and those in which the student will be enrolled as a Senior.

2. By the end of week 6, the student should find a thesis adviser and a second reader. The principal thesis adviser should normally be from the department in which the student is concentrating. The student must ensure that his or her principal adviser is from their region of specialization.  The second reader should be from a different department than that of the principal adviser. 

3. By the end of week 6, if the student plans to write the thesis in a foreign language, permission must be obtained from the Chair of the appropriate language department. The Chair may ask to see a two-page précis (in the language) of the main thesis ideas.

4. By the end of week 7 and before Banner registration, the student should submit the Declaration Form in person to the track director, thesis adviser, and second reader, gather all their signatures and hand-deliver the form to the IGS coordinator (in the RAJ). The declaration form indicates that the student intends to write a thesis, has found an adviser and a second reader, and has the minimum GPA in order to qualify to write an IGS thesis. 

5. Once the track director, thesis adviser, and second reader have signed the declaration form and, for a foreign-language thesis, permission from the relevant language Chair has been granted, the track director will allow the student to register to write a thesis.

Prospectus and Bibliography

The prospectus and bibliography are due no later than 3 p.m. on the Friday of the 3rd week of classes during the first semester of the thesis. Students writing Winter-Spring theses should submit their prospectuses and bibliography by 3 p.m. on the Wednesday of the 2nd week of Winter term. Copies of the prospectus and bibliography must be delivered to the principal thesis adviser, the second reader, the track director, and the IGS coordinator.

A prospectus should be 1500-2000 words long and should a) define the research question(s) to be answered in the thesis; b) explain the intellectual importance of the thesis; and c) outline how the project will be completed, i.e., sources and methodology.


Students who are following the old requirements should write their thesis in their chosen IGST discipline. Only the Director of International and Global Studies, in consultation with the appropriate track director, can permit a student to write a thesis in a different discipline and using a different methodology. In other words, a student whose discipline is economics may not write a thesis on geography without the Director’s permission. Students who are following the new requirements should write on a regional or global topic. They should be aware of departmental prerequisites and should choose an adviser who is directly affiliated in the students’ regional track.  Students writing on a global theme should seek the advice of the IGS director in identifying the most appropriate thesis adviser.


Some departments require or encourage prerequisites. For example:

History of Art and Architecture: Students writing a thesis must take HARC 0301 in lieu of one of the 4 electives at the 0200-level.

Political Science: Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in the thesis preparation course (PSCI 0368) before their senior year.

Religion: Students must begin by writing a one-semester Senior Project which, if judged successful by the thesis adviser, may be continued as a two-semester thesis.

Sociology and Anthropology: Students must take SOAN 0103, SOAN 0301 (or SOAN 0302), and SOAN 0305 (or SOAN 0306).

Geography: Students must take GEOG 0100 and GEOG 0339.

Use of Foreign Languages Sources

Students are expected to use some foreign language sources in their senior thesis or project.

Senior Project

Students whose disciplinary track is Religion are required to write a one-term Senior Project as both a disciplinary requirement and a prerequisite to writing a two-term thesis. IGST/Religion students may choose to not turn their Senior Project into a thesis. However, in this case, 2016 graduates (who follow the new requirements) will be required to enroll in an IGS senior seminar.


See above for the Declaration Form and the Prospectus and Bibliography deadlines. Be sure to confirm all dates with your primary adviser.

Fall-Winter Term Theses

Final thesis due to advisor by 3 p.m. on the third Friday of winter term. Thesis defense should take place during the last week of winter term.

Fall-Spring, Winter-Spring, and Spring-Fall Term Theses

Final thesis due to advisers by 3 p.m. on the Friday of the 11th week of classes in the second semester of the thesis. For 2016-2017, the Spring date is May 5, 2017.

Grace Period

International and Global Studies has no grace period. Failure to submit the thesis on time will automatically result in no honors being awarded. The thesis advisers have the discretion to award a grade penalty of their choosing for late theses.

Oral Defense

Shortly after the submission of the thesis, an oral defense will be scheduled with the two readers. The purpose of the defense is twofold: to demonstrate verbal command of the thesis material and arguments and to clarify information or points in the thesis. Excellent performance on the defense cannot increase the thesis grade by more than one-third of a grade. Similarly, poor performance on the defense cannot reduce the thesis grade by more than one-third of a grade. Failure to appear for the defense may result in a failing grade for the thesis.

Students who write their theses in a foreign language must also defend in that language.


For May graduates writing Fall-Spring or Winter-Spring, the deadline for submission of the final copy, including the title page and the honor code page, is the last day of classes (Monday, May 15th, 2017). For January graduates and all students writing Fall-Winter, deadline for submission of the final copy, including the title page and the honor code page, is Friday, the last day of Winter Term classes. For the specific requirements, please click here.


Any appeal of a thesis grade, or the award of honors, shall be made to the director of the International and Global Studies program, who will either make the final decision or request an evaluation by another colleague.

Program in International and Global Studies

Robert A. Jones '59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753