An honors thesis is a highly challenging and rewarding undertaking. It allows a student to study a single topic in great depth and integrate knowledge gained in previous courses.

A thesis requires a considerable commitment of time and attention, and is normally undertaken by only a small number of graduating seniors, but it also provides a unique opportunity to conduct original research or explore new ways of thinking about a subject. It can also be a means to reflect on your experiences abroad in an academically rigorous way.

During the first two weeks of the fall semester, there will be a mandatory orientation meeting for seniors who are considering writing a thesis. This will be an opportunity to have your thesis-related questions answered and to meet other IGS thesis writers. The time and place of this meeting will be emailed to all IGS majors.

Eligibility and Enrollment

Thesis students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses counted towards the IGS major and be engaged on a thesis project closely tied to IGS themes (as determined by the IGS honors coordinator). Students interested in completing an honors thesis should apply to the honors coordinator, preferably in the spring of their junior year, but no later than the end of the add/drop period during the fall of their senior year.

Applications should include a brief statement of the thesis topic and should name a thesis advisor. Approval of the application by the honors coordinator, who is necessary for a thesis to be eligible for IGS honors. Thesis students will register for an IGS 99d course each semester with the thesis advisor. In order to register, you need to complete an Add Form that includes your thesis advisor's signature and bring the signed form to the Registrar's office in Kutz. Students are not eligible for honors in IGS unless they complete both semesters of IGS 99d.

One semester of IGS 99d may be used to towards the IGS electives requirement (i.e., it can count as one of the two IGS electives outside your specialization).

Sample Thesis Schedule

Fall Semester Senior Year
  • Fall add/drop period: Obtain preliminary approval to do thesis from IGS honors coordinator; confirm thesis advisor; enroll in IGS 99d
  • Early-October: Submit thesis proposal to advisor and honors coordinator
Spring Semester Senior Year
  • Spring add/drop period: Enroll in IGS 99d

  • March: Confirm additional examining committee members

  • Mid-March: Submit entire draft of thesis to advisor

  • April: Submit final revised thesis to entire committee

  • Last week of classes / Finals week: Oral defense

  • Before Commencement: Deposit thesis with IGS and University Archives

Specific deadlines are outlined in the IGS Senior Thesis Schedule for 2020-2021 (pdf).