Senior Thesis

Students complete the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality (SWGS) thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Please see the General Announcements for complete information.

We encourage very eligible student to consider applying, especially students who intend to pursue graduate work or careers demanding research and writing skills.

Students undertake a substantial project on a question or problem of their own choosing during the two semesters of their senior year. The thesis must be the student’s original scholarly or creative work and demonstrate an informed engagement with feminist, gender, and/or sexuality studies.


The specific schedule for research and writing will be developed in consultation with the SWGS 498 and 499 instructor and the student’s own faculty mentor. The faculty mentor should meet at least every other week to review progress. The following is a sample timeline. Projects that include human subjects research must include a plan for IRB submission in the proposal.

Junior Year

  • Contact potential faculty mentors early in the spring semester to discuss possible projects and confirm a faculty mentor.
  • Register for SWGS 498 for fall semester senior year.
  • Prepare a project proposal of 1 to 2 pages for approval by the end of the exam period in the spring of the junior year.

Senior Year

Fall semester

  • Week 3: preliminary bibliography or review of relevant sources completed.
  • Week 7: full working bibliography or background research completed.
  • Week 14: tentative outline of the thesis, including chapter or section divisions, completed.
  • For those projects not requiring IRB approval, one section/chapter should be completed.

Spring semester

  • Week 3: first or second section/chapter completed.
  • Week 8: draft of introduction completed.
  • Week 10: first draft completed and submitted to advisor.
  • Week 13: final draft completed and submitted to CSWGS.
  • Week 14: thesis presentation.

At the end of the second semester of their senior year, students will present their thesis to their faculty advisors and a public audience. Presenters may invite anyone they wish to attend the presentation. The 20-minute presentation should summarize the thesis in a clearly understandable way for a non-specialist audience and should also include a visual component (i.e., a poster or PowerPoint presentation). Presentations should be polished, well-rehearsed, and professional. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Completion of a thesis does not guarantee graduation with University Honors.

Please see the Center’s policy for Distinction.

Copies are archived in the CSWGS offices.