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Senior Honors Thesis

Students interested in producing a substantial piece of original research and writing may elect to do a senior honors thesis in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Writing a senior honors thesis allows students to explore a research interest at more length and to produce a substantial analytic paper. While the ability to conduct research can help students in terms of employment, this is also good preparation for students considering graduate studies.

To be eligible to write an honors thesis, students should have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in WGSS. Students who satisfy the WGSS major requirements, who maintain throughout their undergraduate studies at the UO a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses in the major, and who have submitted a copy of the honors thesis approved by their committee to the department will receive a baccalaureate degree with honors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Thesis Criteria

A thesis must be based on a student’s original research. Depending on discipline, it can be a written paper that presents the results of the research. Theses average between 30 and 50 pages, including notes and bibliographies.

Only theses that meet the following criteria will be approved and awarded honors by WGSS:

  • it identifies a clear and original topic or research question;
  • demonstrates knowledge of the literature concerning that topic or research question in the field of gender studies by reviewing that body of literature and providing a substantive bibliography;
  • it provides an analysis of the topic or research question, using clearly identified methodology;
  • it uses the citational style appropriate to its disciplinary focus;
  • the thesis is mindful of the relationships among gender, race, class, ability, national identity as these pertain to the object of study.

Honors Thesis Requirements

Students producing a senior honors thesis should expect to do this work over the course of a full year prior to their graduation.

Spring-Summer before you begin writing:

  • Identify a primary advisor who is either a faculty member in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or an affiliate faculty member and a second reader who is either a faculty member in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or an affiliate faculty member. Please keep in mind that if you have a WGSS affiliate as your first reader, then the 405 instructor will be your second reader.


  • Register for WGS 405 (1-4 variable credits);
  • Submit a time line for completion of your thesis to your thesis advisor and meet with your advisor
  • By the end of the fall term, complete a draft of a research proposal. The research proposal should be 5-8 pages in length and include a literature review, a short section on the methods students will use, research questions or a thesis statement (depending on discipline), and a bibliography. The proposal must be approved by the department head.
  • Once you have finished your research proposal, it must be approved by your thesis advisor and a copy must be submitted to the department. Please note that if an affiliate faculty member is advising you, you must have your proposal approved by your primary advisor in WGSS as well.


  • Using the time line you submitted in the fall, and revising it as necessary, you will spend winter term conducting your research and writing the thesis, all the while working closely with your advisor.
  • By the end of winter term, you need to have completed your research and be well into writing the thesis.
  • You should sign up for WGS 403 reading credits with your thesis adviser during winter term.


  • Students write, revise, and produce a final draft of the thesis, again following the agreed-upon time line;
  • By no later than the end of Week 5, students must submit their final thesis to their WGSS advisor and/or their affiliate advisor;
  • Upon approval, students must submit a copy of their final thesis to the department head