Senior Thesis

The capstone of an MIT Political Science major is the senior thesis – a project where students demonstrate their ability to conduct original research and write a high-quality work on a topic of their own choosing.

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 three-class sequence that typically begins during the junior year: 17.869 (Political Science Scope and Methods), 17.871 (Political Science Laboratory), and 17.THT (Thesis Research Design Seminar). During the spring semester of the senior year, students complete the thesis in 17.THU, under supervision of their faculty thesis advisor.

For thesis specifications visit the MIT Libraries Thesis Specifications website.

Important Thesis Dates and Deadlines for Spring 2016

Friday, February 19 noon - 1 pm

First meeting to discuss your progress.  For this meeting bring an outline with your plan for completing your thesis with dates.  A copy of this outline is due to your thesis advisor and to me.
I'll provide lunch.  

Friday, February 26

All thesis supervisor and second reader forms must be signed and turned into the Undergraduate Office by Friday, February 26
Continue to turn in chapters/pieces of your thesis to your thesis advisor for comments.

Friday, March 4  noon - 1:00 pm

Second meeting to discuss your progress.  Between now and spring break you will be turning in chapters/pieces of your thesis to your thesis advisor, receiving comments back and making changes based on comments.

Friday, March 18

A good deal of your work (over half) should have been turned in to your thesis advisor by this date.  You should have received comments from your advisor and you are revising these parts of your thesis.

Week of April 4-8

First draft of your thesis due to thesis advisor and second reader for comments

Friday, April 29

Final draft of your thesis due to your thesis advisor and second reader.  At this time you will make changes on your thesis based on comments from your thesis advisor and second reader.

Between April 29 and May 6 - Defense of thesis

You will schedule a presentation to present your findings to the members of the department.  You will receive final comments on your thesis from your thesis advisor and second reader.  After a discussion with your thesis advisor, you will want to make some changes based on comments from other people at the presentation.

Friday, May 6

This is the official Institute deadline for theses other than doctoral (our deadline is later)
Thursday, May 12

Graduation Champagne Party

**Friday, May 20**

This is our (Political Science Department) final deadline for turning in your thesis to your advisor and the Undergraduate Office.

If you miss this deadline you will not be cleared for graduation in June.

Final, perfect, signed (by your thesis advisor and second reader) thesis is due in undergraduate office E53-484.  You will turn in at least one copy of your thesis (on MIT archival bond – or thesis paper) to Tobie and another copy (this one doesn’t have to be on thesis paper) to your thesis advisor.



Tobie Weiner
Undergraduate Administrator

Scott Schnyer
Undergraduate Administrator's Assistant

Undergraduate Office