Senior Thesis and Independent Study

Students interested in pursuing independent or senior thesis work in Gender Studies must meet College-wide eligibility criteria.  Students undertaking independent work must obtain the prior approval of a faculty sponsor and register for the appropriate numbers of credits of Gender Studies 295 or 395.

A student undertaking honors thesis work is typically a senior. They must have maintained a cumulative average of 3.00 in their major field and may undertake an honors program with the approval of the department or major committee concerned.  Students and faculty involved in the independent/honors process should be familiar with the College’s Guidelines for honors program and honors thesis, which the Dean of Faculty has prepared.

Senior year, Fall semester (or junior year, Spring semester)

  • The Gender Studies Department requires a one-page abstract of the project by October 1 to the advisor.  The advisor will then circulate the abstract to other Gender Studies faculty.  
  • A complete first draft is due no later than one month before the last day of classes, to be circulated to all three members of the thesis committee.  The committee will then determine whether the project can go forward as a thesis.  
  • The final deadline is a hard-copy deadline; no email or text attachments will be accepted.  (Consult with the department assistance for photocopying support.)

Honors ordinarily are pursued in the major field but may be undertaken in another field if the student has sufficient background in that field and has the approval of both the department or major committee concerned and the Dean of Studies. Sufficient background usually entails the student’s already having taken coursework at the 300-level and being familiar with the methodology of the discipline to such a degree that they can reasonably be expected to work independently.

The honors program consists of a minimum of 8 credits distributed between at least two semesters. These are usually the two semesters of senior year, although some students begin in the second semester of junior year. One-semester honors projects are not permitted, because one semester does not allow sufficient time for the research, assimilation of material, writing, and polishing required. The project may be extended through more than two semesters provided that such a concentration on one topic seems wise in the student's total educational program. A maximum of 16 credits of honors and independent work together may count in the minimum 128 credits presented for the A.B. degree. If the honors project does not culminate in a recommendation for a degree with honor, it is recorded as independent work. Both honors and independent work are recorded on the transcript as 395.

Consult the complete guidelines for further information about eligibility, credit, grades, the scope of the project, work schedule, thesis length, theses in studio art and the performing arts, the form of the honors thesis manuscript, constitution of the honors examining committee, evaluation criteria, and submission regulations.