Brown University
Development Studies


All concentrators must complete a senior capstone experience. Those who wish to complete a senior thesis must secure approval from the DS Concentration Advisor and DEVL 1500 (Methods) instructor at the end of the junior year. Approval will be contingent on the project’s viability. It is preferable but not required that the student secures a project advisor prior to approval. Students who do not receive approval for their senior thesis, or who choose not to complete a senior thesis, must complete a senior capstone seminar senior year.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis can take the form of a thesis (academic paper), media project, or other projects (see more information on choosing an advisor and senior thesis options below). Students must receive approval for their topic, but generally any topic that fits within the general framework of development studies research will be appropriate. In developing, researching and writing the senior thesis students work closely with the DEVL 1500 (Methods) course instructor in the junior year, the DEVL 1980 (Writing) course instructor, faculty advisor, and second advisor in the senior year. The primary faculty advisor should be a regular Brown faculty member, while the second advisor may be a Ph.D. candidate, a Watson Institute visitor, or a faculty member at another university or college. The Concentration Advisor will give final approval to students’ advisor choices.

Senior Capstone Seminar 

The senior capstone seminar will require that the student in his or her senior year write a research paper in a WRIT-designated senior seminar. The paper must utilize one’s thematic or regional expertise and/or foreign language skills.