Political science majors may choose to write a senior thesis – a project where students demonstrate their ability to conduct original research on a topic of their own choosing under the direction of a faculty member.
Theses are sometimes based on previous work, such as class papers or field projects; many students develop their own topic in consultation with faculty and graduate assistants. Finished theses are often used in applications to graduate schools and as the basis for future research, and some students have also successfully published portions of their work.
Preparation and assistance are provided in a two-class sequence that typically begins during the junior year: 17.801 (Political Science Scope and Methods), 17.803 (Political Science Laboratory). By the end of junior year, students interested in writing a thesis are encouraged to reach out to potential thesis advisors. Research formally begins in fall of senior year (17.THT) under the direction of a faculty advisor and continues in the spring (17.THU), culminating in a thesis defense with the advisor and a second faculty reader.
For thesis specifications visit the MIT Libraries Thesis Specifications website.