Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations

Thesis Advising

Each honors candidate works with a thesis committee of two advisors preferably from different departments at Brown. Ideally, one of the two advisors should be affiliated with the Watson Institute for International Studies. The primary thesis advisor must:

  1. have a PhD and
  2. be a faculty member in residence at Brown for both semesters of the student's senior year and
  3. be sufficiently knowledgeable about the topic of research to provide useful advice throughout the research and writing process and
  4. NOT be on sabbatical during either semester of the student's senior year.

Faculty from language arts and literature departments may be second readers.

The choice of a primary thesis advisor is an important one, and each potential honors candidate may wish to discuss this with the IR Program Director, the Assistant Director, or the track advisors.

Students are encouraged to obtain a second reader by the end of their junior spring semester. Indeed, the senior thesis is an unusual opportunity for students to work closely with a faculty member on a one-to-one basis, so students are encouraged to be somewhat flexible in their choice of topics in order to be able to establish a match with the expertise of one of Brown’s faculty members.

Plan Ahead!
Thesis Advisors are hot commodities.

In the final analysis, doing research on a topic of shared interest with a faculty member should take priority over a student’s desire to work on a “favorite” topic, especially if there is no one at Brown who has the necessary expertise to advise the student on that topic.

Please note that foreign language instructors are typically not suitable first readers.