A senior thesis is an extended original research project written under the supervision of a faculty adviser during the student’s senior year. Thesis projects are best suited for students who have an interest in exploring a specific question and/or a field of knowledge beyond their previous course work. Students may complete a senior thesis regardless of GPA; however, those students with a 3.7 GPA (or above) in their International Studies major coursework, and who complete a senior thesis, will be eligible for honors in International Studies. Theses completed for any of the major’s affiliated departments may be used to earn honors both in that departmental major and in International Studies.
Steps to complete a senior thesis:
- Determine a topic of interest.
- Find a faculty sponsor who is willing to supervise the thesis. Students may choose a faculty sponsor from any department affiliated with the International Studies Program.
- Register for an Independent Study with the faculty sponsor (or other thesis course required by the faculty sponsor’s home department) in the fall semester.
- In the spring semester, if the faculty sponsor feels that sufficient progress has been made, register for a second Independent Study with the faculty sponsor and/or other thesis course required by the faculty sponsor’s home department.
- For students planning to graduate in December, the first Independent Study/thesis course should be taken in the spring semester of junior year and the second Independent Study/thesis course should be taken during your final semester of enrollment in the fall.
Students enrolled in one of the double major tracks are encouraged to follow the thesis guidelines for that track, which may differ from International Studies. Global Social Change and Development (sociology) students can find more information on the Arrighi Center website. World Politics and Global Governance (political science) students should register for AS.190.498 Thesis Colloquium during the fall semester.
The Robert Tucker Prize
The Tucker Prize is presented to the best international studies thesis in a given year and is named after the first director of the International Studies Program – Robert Warren Tucker (born August 25, 1924), Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at the Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Tucker received his B.S. from the United States Naval Academy in 1945 and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1949. He was co-editor of The National Interest from 1985 to 1990, and president of the Lehrman Institute from 1982 to 1987. He has published essays in Foreign Affairs, World Policy Journal, The National Interest, Harpers, and The New Republic. His 1977 book The Inequality of Nations is a highly skeptical analysis of the Third World’s efforts to redistribute power and wealth in the international system.