You bear primary responsibility for the process and product of the project. You will consult with your thesis advisor to work out a schedule for meetings, progress deadlines, and other benchmarks. You can find details about specific dates and deadlines for a particular academic year on the Charles Center’s website.
Your thesis director can help you in a number of ways, from the procurement of literature to judging the standard of the argument. It is your responsibility to confer with your thesis director on a regular basis. As you begin to write it is important for your director to read each chapter as it is completed. This allows for the correction of problems along the way rather than their identification at the end when it is too late to repair them.
You are responsible for asking two faculty members other than your thesis director to act as an honors committee. Your director and one other faculty member need to be selected from the IR faulty while the third committee member must be from another department or program. You should have your committee selected by fall break.
You must meet with your committee prior to the end of the first semester to present your preliminary work.
You are also strongly required to participate in the Charles Center’s Honors Colloquium early in the second semester.
You must provide a copy of the complete thesis to the examining committee the first week in April. The thesis must conform to the required specifications (margins, appearance, bibliography and so forth), but need not be on acid free paper.
Based on this work, the committee determines whether the thesis is provisionally acceptable. If it is, you may schedule the oral defense. Under no circumstances can the defense be scheduled after the final day of classes. After agreeing on a date and time, you must consult with the International Relations office to reserve a room for the oral defense.
The defense itself usually lasts at least one hour. You will give a brief presentation of your research and conclusions. This is followed by followed by questions from committee members concerning the research process, sources, conclusion, and implications of your work.
The committee members will sign your title page to provide written documentation of the completion of the thesis. Therefore, you should bring four copies of your title page, printed on acid-free paper, to the defense.
Please note that beginning in spring 2010, IR theses that are successfully completed and defended will receive the designation of honors (high or highest honors will no longer be award).
Abandoning the Thesis
If it becomes evident before the end of the first semester that you will not complete the honors project, you and your thesis director must either 1) withdraw from INRL 495, or 2) change INRL 495 to an appropriate alternative, such as an independent study. Your thesis advisor will notify the Charles Center of the change.
If it becomes clear during the second semester that the honors project will not be completed by the submission deadline, you and your faculty director must change INRL 495 & 496 to an appropriate alternative (procedure as above), in most cases independent study.
You are well-served by pursuing a topic in an area in which you have already had courses. Additionally, you are strongly encouraged to complete as much reading and research as possible over the summer.
For some students, summer research is critical to the process of the honors project. The Charles Center provides funding opportunities to assist students undertaking honors research. Applications for funding are handled through a central website. Please note that deadlines for funding can be as early as February.