Students accepted to the thesis track enroll in the Senior Tutorial (WGS 99a/b). They meet regularly with their thesis advisers, who provide advice on research strategies and extensive feedback on the student’s writing, reading drafts of each chapter and suggesting revisions.
Thesis track seniors also meet as a group with the assistant director of undergraduate studies. In these class meetings, they receive additional guidance and support from the ADUS and their peers as they work through the various stages of researching and writing their theses.
The director of undergraduate studies and the assistant director of undergraduate studies are responsible for assigning thesis advisers to all thesis track students who are full concentrators or joint concentrators with WGS as the primary concentration. Students will have an opportunity at the end of their junior year to list preferences for potential advisers. The DUS and the ADUS will take these student preferences into account when making the assignments.
Thesis Proposal Colloquium
All thesis writers, full and joint, have their thesis proposals reviewed and discussed at a fall colloquium with advisers, faculty, and members of the Graduate Tutorial Board. The colloquium gives students a chance to receive productive feedback on their work at an early stage in the research and writing process.
All WGS seniors participate in our senior presentations at the end of the academic year. Students can choose to present work from a course, their thesis, or their involvement in a campus group or organization.
All thesis track students take a one-hour oral examination during reading period. The oral exam committee includes at least one thesis reader and one member of the teaching faculty in WGS. In advance of the exam, students submit a one- to two-page abstract of the thesis and a two- to three-page narrative of study, which describes the student’s focus of study or “intellectual trajectory” as a full or joint concentrator. The exam consists of a discussion of the thesis and the readers’ reports, as well as the narrative of study.
At Harvard there are two types of honors, which recognize students who have particularly distinguished records: college or Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) and departmental or English honors (honors, high honors, and highest honors). English honors recognize the work the students do in the concentration, and they also function as a recommendation to the College for the final determination of Latin honors. For more information on how the College determines Latin honors, please see the Harvard College Handbook for Students. The English honors recommendation in WGS is determined principally by the student’s concentration GPA, thesis readings, and oral exam evaluation.