IGS Senior Thesis Declaration Form


The International and Global Studies program offers majors the opportunity to write an honors thesis. To receive departmental honors, students must write a two-term thesis. Students have the option of writing a fall-winter, winter-spring, fall-spring or spring-fall thesis. Students are expected to use some foreign language sources in their senior thesis or project.


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. The list of major courses includes: all language courses; all regional, thematic, and global courses; all courses taken abroad; and all courses with an IGST designation.

Research Methods for a Thesis

Students should be aware that many faculty advisers require a methodology course before registering for IGST 070X, and the IGST program strongly encourages thesis writers to take a research methodology course. It is therefore important for students to meet with their track directors as early in their career as possible to discuss their interest in writing a thesis.

Research methods vary across the humanities and social sciences. IGST faculty in different departments offer the following guidance for prospective thesis writers:

  • Anthropology: Students who wish to work on a senior project should work with their advisor(s) to ensure they are sufficiently prepared.  Those who elect to work on a project for more than one semester must present their progress for review by two professors who will decide whether the project qualifies for extended study.
  • Geography: Students interested in writing an IGST thesis with a faculty member in Geography should work closely with that advisor to assure they complete coursework to sufficiently prepare themselves methodologically for thesis work.
  • History: take HIST 0600 in junior year or the fall of senior year.
  • History of Art and Architecture: take HARC 0301 in lieu of one of the 4 electives at the 0200-level.
  • Political Science: take one methods course (either PSCI 0213 or PSCI 0210).
  • 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: Students must take SOCI 105. Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to take SOCI 301 or SOCI 302 by their junior year.

Before the Thesis: Advising and Registration

During the semester preceding the start of the thesis, the student should (1) meet with their track director and (2) submit an unofficial transcript and an advising wizard listing all courses counting towards the major.

By one week prior to registration (for Winter/Spring 2024 or Spring/Fall 2024 by late October) students should:

  • students complete the thesis declaration form, which requires finding a thesis advisor and second reader (from different academic departments) and securing their signatures. The form should then be submitted via email to the Program Director and IGST coordinator.
  • If the student plans to write a 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.

The IGST coordinator will arrange the specific course number (each track and each professor has a specific course number) and provide that course number to each student for registration.  

Prospectus and Bibliography

The thesis prospectus should be 1500-2000 words long and 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, including sources and methodology.

  • For students starting in the fall or spring, the prospectus and bibliography are due no later than 3 p.m. on the Friday of the third week of classes during the first semester.
  • For students starting in winter, the prospectus and bibliography are due no later than 3 p.m. on the last day of the second week of classes.
  • Copies of the prospectus and bibliography must be delivered to the principal thesis adviser, the second reader, and the track director.

Thesis Deadlines

Thesis writers will submit a final version of their thesis to their advisors and second readers by the deadlines below. The thesis should be no more than 25,000 words (100 double-spaced pages) if written in English, and no more than 13,000 words (50 double-spaced pages) if written in one of the IGS languages. Each thesis should have a table of contents, total word count, and abstract.

After submission, the student and advisors will schedule an oral defense (see below).

  • Fall-Winter: By 3 p.m. on January 25, 2024 (three weeks into winter term).
  • Fall-Spring, Winter-Spring: By 3 p.m., Monday, April 29, 2024 (the Monday of the 11th week of classes)
  • Spring-Fall: By 3 p.m. on December 8, 2023 (the Friday of the 11th week of classes)

By the last day of classes, the student should email the final version (with signatures) to the IGST director and coordinator. Please also provide a paper copy to the IGST Coordinator. The final version should include a title page and honor pledge (see fillable PDF).

Oral Defense

An oral defense will be held with the two readers during the last week of classes. 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 defend in that language.

Honors and Awards

Nominations for the best thesis award are due to the IGST program director by Friday, May 12, by 12 p.m. (noon).

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

International and Global Studies has no grace period. Failure to submit the thesis on time, to the thesis advisors, 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.