Defense and Decision on Level of Honors of Thesis

An oral defense of the essay or thesis is required, with both readers present. The defense usually lasts about one hour and is confined to the honors research (it is not a test of general WGS knowledge). Typically, students open the oral defense with a brief summary of the central argument(s) of the project, along with a discussion of anything they wish the committee to know.

Students may comment, for instance, on the discovery process that led them to write the essay or thesis to begin with; on certain field-related or theoretical difficulties they encountered along the way; or on unresolved issues or questions that they did not discuss in the written document. The discussion that follows will allow faculty a chance to ask the student questions about his/her research and to converse with the student about the contents.

The defense must take place before the WGS degree meeting, which is typically the Monday before graduation. At the defense, the thesis or essay is awarded highest honors, high honors, honors or no honors. The level of honors is indicated on the thesis defense form and signed by all members of the committee, although it will not be communicated to the student. The student will be informed of the final level of program honors.