Watson Institute at Brown University
Development Studies

Timeline for DS Concentrators

Freshman Year

  • Start taking language courses in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement.
  • Take one of the core courses to see if you might want to concentrate in DS.
  • See the DS concentration advisor for help with planning your courses.

Sophomore Year


  • Courses: continue studying your foreign language. If you haven’t taken SOC 1620, ANTH 0110, or POLS 1240, take one this semester to fulfill the prerequisite for the Seminar in Sociology of Development, offered in the spring.
  • In October, you should meet with the concentration advisor in order to plan out your course schedule and discuss your goals.
  • During pre-registration, register for DEVL 1000/SOC 1871D (if you’ve fulfilled the prerequisite).


  • Courses: DEVL 1000 [SOC 1871D] Seminar in Sociology of Development. Continue studying your foreign language, and fulfilling DS requirements.
  • Early March -- File your DS Concentration Declaration. (Will you try to graduate with honors? If so, you need an “A” in 7 DS concentration courses and must write an honors thesis.)
  • Think about studying abroad. Because of the core course requirements for DS, the best time for you to study abroad is either in the fall of your Junior year, or during the summer before or after your Junior year.
                  If you’ll be studying abroad in the fall, you must complete all the necessary paperwork early in the spring semester.
                  Remember that no more than two courses taken abroad can count towards your concentration in DS. These courses must be pre-approved by DS; remember that your grades will not transfer, only the credit.
  • Start thinking about what type of capstone project you will pursue--thesis or senior seminar research paper--and what to focus on.
  • Look into methods courses that you might need for your capstone project. For example, statistics, econometrics, or MCM courses. Ask for advice from the DS concentration advisor.
  • Are you declaring a second concentration? If so, two courses can be counted for both concentrations.

Junior Year


  • Courses: foreign language; look into the advanced seminars available; continue fulfilling core, regional, and elective requirements. It is best if you have taken most of your disciplinary and elective courses before taking DEVL 1500 in the spring, to give you a strong knowledge base and conceptual background on which to develop your capstone project proposal.
  • Firm up plans about your capstone--type and topic--and who your advisor could be. Start talking with potential advisors. If writing a thesis, you should have a firm commitment from a primary advisor by the beginning of the spring semester.
  • Think about applying for grants and fellowships that can help you carry out your research project!
    • Some grants require a letter from your thesis advisor, so you’ll need to start thinking ahead and find a thesis advisor. See the DS concentration advisor for help.
    • Grants have varying due dates. Check these out now!


  • Courses: DEVL 1500, foreign language, remaining requirements, and any methods courses you need to help you carry out your capstone project. If you haven’t fulfilled all the core requirements, this is the last semester to do so. All core requirements must be completed prior to Senior year.
  • You must secure an advisor and approval of your planned capstone project--thesis or senior seminar research paper.
  • If writing a thesis senior year, you must begin working with the DEVL 1500 instructor and primary advisor on defining thesis topic and appropriate research method(s). Register for DEVL 1980.

Summer before Senior Year

  • If writing a thesis, start to collect data based on your advisors recommendations, your research methods, and research question.
  • Keep in touch with your thesis advisor—keep him or her updated on what you’re doing!

Senior Year


  • Fulfill second WRIT requirement, if haven't already completed. (For thesis writers, DEVL 1980 Senior Thesis Seminar is a WRIT course.)
  • Courses: any remaining concentration requirements - regional, elective, DEVL 1980 (if writing a thesis), senior seminar (if not writing a thesis).
  • If you’re writing a thesis, you should be working closely with your advisor: communicating regularly, updating about changes to your project, submitting all written work, determining how you’ll incorporate feedback, etc.
  • By mid-October, you should have secured a second reader for your thesis.
  • Determine if you need to collect more data for your thesis. If so, start planning how you’ll do it. Will you go somewhere over winter break?

Winter Break

  • Commit time to working on your thesis.


  • Courses: DEVL 1990 (if writing a thesis), any remaining concentration requirements - regional, elective, capstone seminar.
  • Revise your concentration – this involves going over your DS courses with the concentration advisor and revising your concentration in ASK. (Look out for the Registrar deadline—it will be announced on the DS website and in the weekly DUG newsletter.)
  • If you’re writing a thesis, keep in constant communication with your primary advisor and second reader. 
  • The first full draft of your senior thesis is due March 15th.
  • Your final thesis is due April 15th.
  • Prepare to present your thesis and research findings at a Thesis Conference in late April.
  • Late May: Graduation!