return to FAQs

What senior seminar will fulfill my concentration?

This will vary each year.  Remember that the seminar need not be entirely dedicated to your concentration field.  For example, one could have a concentration in Europe but still take the senior seminar in International Environmental Economics if the seminar paper was written on a topic with a substantially European perspective.  Senior seminars in languages will satisfy those doing an area concentration or double count for those with a double major.  For example, if you are a double major with French Studies or an GS major with a European concentration, the French senior seminar counts toward your global studies senior requirement.

Can I use an independent study (GS 491)  to fulfill my senior seminar requirement?

Absolutely-but not without permission of the faculty member you would like to supervise your work.  It is best if you email the likely supervisor over the summer before your senior year or stop by in the first days of the fall semester — even if you hope to write the paper in the spring.  The paper must be for 4 credits (or be a 2 credit independent combined with a 4 credit course); the length is up to the instructor but a rule of thumb is about 40-60 pages.  The ideal supervisor is someone with whom you have completed prior course work.  You should approach the potential supervisor with an independent study topic;  better yet a 1-2 page proposal with bibliography is always impressive!

What is the 2 credit add-on option?

To increase the number of possible courses to fulfill your senior requirement, we allow you to attach a 2 credit independent study to a seminar-like class (one where there is active participation and student responsibility for work).  This is done ONLY at the discretion of the instructor.  Please consult with your instructor and the director of the IS program if you are considering this option.  You would sign up for the 3-4 credit class plus two credits of GS491.  Economics majors writing their EC391 in the senior year may use the EC 391 if associated with a seminar like class (such as Economics of Globalization or Latin American Economic Policy.)

Can I do my senior seminar or my independent paper in my junior year?

Normally, no.  The intent is for this to be a culminating experience.  It is hard to culminate when you still have a year to go.  However, there may be extenuating circumstances.  For example, you want to write on the Middle East and Prof. Denoeux is on sabbatical your senior year.  You may request in writing to the GS director a waiver of the requirement that the project take place in your senior year.  Likewise, you may be intensely interested in Latin American politics and Prof.  Mayka’s senior seminar is the perfect capstone — but she is going on leave your senior year.  Again, petition.  You can see that it is useful to look ahead and ask your favorite professor whether he or she will be offering the course you intend to use as your senior requirement in your senior year.