Senior Thesis Guidelines


All students writing the thesis while in residence must follow these standards. Washington Semester students should attempt to adhere to them as closely as possible.


  1. April 15, Junior Year: A political science major will submit a proposal she has worked on with the advice of one of the political science faculty. The proposal sets forth the research question to be examined, the scope and methods to be used, and a preliminary bibliography.
  2. End of First Semester, Senior Year: The student will trun in a rough draft of her project to her adviser. She will receive comments and suggestions for further revision by the beginning of the next semester.
  3. February, Senior Year: Each student will present her project to the rest of the Political Science faculty and any interested students. She will respond to questions and receive comments and suggestions. Working with her adviser, she will decide what further revisions must be done for the project to be considered completed. These presentations will be scheduled between the middle of February and the beginning of Spring Break.
  4. March 31, Senior Year: The student will turn in a final draft of her comipleted thesis. The completed thesis must contain a complete bibliography, an accurate table of contents, a précis of not more than 150 words, and a title page that lists the title, the adviser, and the statement "submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Bachelor of Arts." At this point, the Political Science faculty will decide which, if any, of these Senior Theses are worthy of receiving the designation of "Honors."

Deadlines for Completion: VERY IMPORTANT.

If the student does not turn in a draft to her adviser in December, or what she turns in is judged to be incomplete or below expectations, she will be told she will not be able to do an oral presentation in February and that her ability to complete the senior comp requirement in POSC is in severe jeopardy. In that situation, she must turn in an acceptable draft by February 1 so that an oral defense can be scheduled before April 1. After that, it will not be possible to complete a comp in POSC prior to graduation. At that point, a student would need to either do a comp in another department or return to Saint Mary's in the future and work with the same schedule in a subsequent year.


  1. Title page, as per example, noting who your personal supervisor was, or S. Savage if the thesis is from Washington Semester.
  2. Abstract or Precis of 100 to 200 words summarizing the hypothesis, the content of the thesis, and your major findings.
  3. Table of Contents; acknowledgements if any; other front material if any.
  4. Body of the thesis: divided into chapters. For most theses, the chapters should follow this outline:
    • Chapter describing the hypothesis of the thesis and presenting related material indicating the significance of the hypothesis and background material on the thesis, i.e., a literature search.
    • Chapters presenting data, facts, and analysis that support or disconfirm the hypothesis.
    • Chapters for evaluation of the data, facts, and analysis. Conclusions, proposals for the future, and statements on the significance of the thesis in light of the current literature in political science.
  5. All tables, maps, and other figures should be appropriately annotated. They should be cited and discussed in the body of the thesis. Appendix material should follow the body of the paper.
  6. References: Using a standard system such as that in MLA Style Sheet, Turabian, Manual for Writers, Chicago Manual of Style, AFA Style, or that used in the American Political Science Review.
  7. Bibliography: Again using a standard system.


The International Politics of


Infant Formula: Health and Humanism in

International Trade


by Mary St. Mary's

A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science,


Saint Mary's College, in partial fulfillment for

the degree of Bachelor of Arts

May 00, 200?


Professor (Belanger, Cavender, Pierce, Savage)


Back to Forms and Requirements