Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations

Timeline & Checklist


*Students who are studying abroad in the spring may submit an application by email or fax by the posted deadline. In lieu of a signature, primary thesis advisors may email a statement to the IR Program indicating their willingness to serve as thesis advisor.

thesis timeline


Junior Year

Sep - Oct
_ Start thinking about whether an honors thesis is the best capstone for you.
_ Start thinking about a topic.
_ Read abstracts of previous honors theses online or checkout the full thesis from the undergrad program suite.
_ Plan your courses so that you will have completed concentration requirements for thesis writers (POLS 0400 or 0200 for IR) and the research methods course by the end of junior year. Also choose courses that are thematically relevant to your topic, particularly seminars that give you research and writing experience.
Oct - Nov
_ Attend thesis info session & proposal writing workshops.
_ Do preliminary research on thesis topic and literature review. Start constructing a research question.
_ Meet with Social Sciences Librarian, Carina Cournoyer, or another library specialist to help you narrow your research question and direct you to relevant articles on your topic.
Nov - Dec
_ Compile working bibliography for thesis application.
_ Discuss prospectus with potential advisors and get feedback. Particularly important if going abroad in the spring.
_ Begin draft of prospectus.
_ Enroll in a seminar to enhance your research and writing skills.
_ Attend thesis info session and proposal writing workshops.
_ Finalize prospectus and commitment from advisor.
_ Obtain  a second reader for your thesis committee.
_ Submit honors application/thesis prospectus.
_ Receive notification of acceptance into the Honors Program (IR).
_ Apply for Watson summer thesis travel grant.
_ Attend Watson Institute Thesis Conference for graduating seniors. Thesis writers are required to prestn  their research findings in a public forum.
_ Meet with primary advisor to discuss summer research agenda and bibliography.
_ Sharpen your proposal and begin your research. The more research you complete over the summer, the better poised you'll be for the thesis seminar in the fall.
_ Do research abroad if relevant.

Senior Year

_ Enroll in INTL 1910 - Mandatory Honors Thesis Seminar.
_ Meet regularly with your primary thesis advisor.
_ Submit drafts of chapters 1 and 2 (literature review).
_ Make progress on at least one empirical chapter.
_ Apply for research funding (Bhatia, RAB Grant).
Winter Break
_ Complete at least one empirical chapter draft and begin researching 4th chapter.
_ Hold interviews, visit specialized archives and institutions.
_ Enroll in INTL 1920 (under your primary thesis advisor).
_ Complete thesis (leave time for numerous drafts and edits!)
_ Submit hard and digital copies of thesis to the IR Program and advisors.
_ Present your research findings at the IR Honors Conference.
_ Complete online Capstone Catalog.