Info session for students who are thinking about writing a SWAGS thesis [Please reach out to Professor Polk, the chair of SWAGS, to schedule a 1-to-1 meeting.]

Monday, April 22, 2024: Thesis Proposal due


Fall Semester Add/Drop: Enroll in SWAG 498

Third Monday in January: At least two draft chapters due to advisor and SWAGS Department

Spring Semester Add/Drop: Enroll in SWAG 499

Second Monday in April: Submit thesis to advisor and readers. [NOTE: The deadline for Spring 2024 theses has been extended to Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at noon.]

Thursday, May 9, 2024: Final submission of thesis to Registrar's Office and SWAGS Department

Writing a SWAGS Honors Thesis

SWAGS theses often cross disciplinary boundaries.  We are a “studies” department because the significance, impact, and construction of gender and sexuality have multiple origins.  Our SWAGS honors students have worked on a wide range of topics.

To earn Latin Honors in SWAGS, in addition to the nine courses required for the major, students must write a thesis. Starting with students entering in Fall 2019, students will generally receive credit for one course each semester. SWAGS honors students should take SWAG 498 (fall) and 499 (spring). 

Thesis Proposal

The SWAGS Department will hold an info session in late February or early March for any students who are considering writing a SWAGS thesis. This session is targeted at juniors, but open to all students.

All majors who are considering theses should consult with members of the Department during their junior year to define a suitable Honors project and to determine whether a member of the Department can serve as an advisor. A student's choice of thesis topic should be guided by the expertise and interests of our faculty. We have compiled a list of topics that our faculty would welcome advising. Colleagues from other departments at Amherst College or in the Five Colleges may serve on thesis committees.  Junior SWAGS majors who are studying abroad should communicate with prospective thesis advisors before leaving and/or while abroad

Prospective thesis writers must submit a proposal to the department by Monday, April 22, 2024.


Students often use the summer prior to their senior year to get a head start on their thesis research. Students who wish to dedicate 6 to 8 weeks of their summer to thesis research should consider applying for a summer research fellowship: the Rose Olver Student Research Fund or the Gregory S. Call Summer Student Research Program.

To support all of our thesis writers, the SWAGS Department will reimburse SWAGS thesis writers up to $200 each from department funds for expenses related to their research. All expenses must be approved by the SWAGS Department. Receipts must be provided.

Registering for Senior Departmental Honors

The SWAGS Department will inform students by the end of the semester whether or not their thesis proposal has been approved. Because students may not register for thesis courses until the proposal has been accepted by the department, we suggest that they pre-register for four courses.  They can drop one of them if the department approves the proposal. 

Continuation of the thesis course into a second semester is not automatic. Thesis writers must submit at least two draft chapters (to the advisor and the SWAGS Department) by the third Monday in January. The department will inform them whether they have been accepted for a second semester of the thesis program.

Submitting Your Thesis

Seniors must submit three copies of their theses, one to their thesis advisor and the others to the SWAGS Department, by the second Monday in April. [NOTE: The deadline for Spring 2024 theses has been extended to Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at noon].

The thesis should not exceed 100 typed double-spaced pages of text.

Students will participate in an oral discussion with members of the thesis committee.

The final corrected thesis, in electronic form, should be submitted both to the Registrar's Office and  the SWAGS Department by Thursday, May 9, 2024.

Detailed guidelines about thesis format and the submission process are included on the Registrar's website.

Awards and Prizes

Students should consider submitting final theses for the Rose Olver Prize and the David Kirp 1965 Stonewall Prize.