Format, Submission and Evaluation

Length and Format Requirements

A finished thesis will typically run 75-125 pages. Because LALS is an interdisciplinary major, there is no specific format that theses are required to follow. Students should keep in mind, however, that the thesis is a work of scholarship and therefore should be consistent and professional in its presentation. You may want to consult with your advisor about any preferences for disciplinary styles of citations and bibliography. Links to several citation style guides are available online.

Final Submission of Thesis

When you are finished, a copy of the thesis needs to be submitted to the LALS administrator. In addition, you need to submit a clean, loose copy (do not staple, bind, or hole-punch) to the University Archives in Goldfarb Library. The University Archives also asks that you complete a Thesis Release Form, which gives the library permission to photocopy your thesis for research purposes. You can find more information on the Guide for Thesis Writers at Brandeis research guide.

Scheduling the Defense

Once the written thesis is completed, you prepare for an oral defense. You should arrange the defense by finding a time, usually during the last week of classes but no later than finals week, when your entire committee can meet. You need to give each committee member a completed copy of the thesis by mid-April. The defense is meant to be a conversation between you and the examining committee about the thesis. Committee members may ask questions about your methods, sources, findings, argument, or other matters connected to the thesis. The defense usually lasts an hour. You should also notify the academic administrator of the date and time of the defense to schedule a room and provide the committee with necessary forms.

Determination of Honors

LALS awards three categories of distinction: Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors. While most thesis students will receive some level of honors, completion of a thesis is not in itself sufficient for honors. LALS departmental honors are based on the examining committee's assessment of the quality of the thesis and the record in courses for the LALS major. The thesis evaluation is based on several criteria, such as quality of research, persuasiveness of argument, clarify of writing, and attention to detail.

After the oral defense, the examining committee makes its recommendation to the program's core faculty committee. The committee then officially informs students about any honors received, usually during the week preceding commencement.