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If International Studies is an interdisciplinary major, does this mean I can’t pursue dual honors?

IS honors students may also pursue dual honors. Interested students apply to both honors programs, and complete the requirements of both honors programs. For more information, please go to the WCAS website on completing two honors projects.

I need to work in my summers. Does this mean I can’t pursue honors?

We encourage students to conduct field work related to a thesis, but this is not required. Text based analysis can be conducted in the United States, and even field work need not be conducted abroad, need not consume the entire summer, and need not take place during the summer. What matters is that the research project be answerable and thus that the student work with the materials they need to answer their question. The University has funds to pay for undergraduate research; we will help students create competitive funding proposals so that primary research or field work can be funded.

Am I committed to pursuing the project I describe in my application? What if I change my research topic either during my research, or before I actually start the honors program?

In the proposal we are most interested in seeing whether a student can define a researchable project that can sustain a thesis-length investigation. Questions that are factual are unlikely to sustain a year-long investigation. Questions that are too big are unlikely to be answerable in a year, if ever. Honors theses tend to evolve as students learn more about their topic and begin working with a faculty advisor, and thus we expect that students who are accepted to the program will redefine and reshape their project, sometimes to the point that it no longer resembles the original proposal.

What does a thesis look like?

A thesis is a scholarly (i.e., critical and independent) analysis in which students are encouraged, but not required, to use primary materials to investigate an issue of specific or general relevance. Since International Studies is an interdisciplinary program, there is an expectation that students will bring in a variety of perspectives and approaches to address the question. There is no set length requirement, though most theses range from 50 to 100 pages in length. You may stop by the International Studies office by contacting and advisor or graduate mentor to review past Honors theses.