Senior Exit Requirement

All Feminist Studies majors must fulfill a senior exit requirement. The following section details the three exit requirement options: completing a senior seminar, writing a senior thesis, or producing a senior project.

1. Senior Seminar

Students may fulfill the senior exit requirement by participating in a specially-designed and approved senior seminar and completing a substantial, 20-page paper for that seminar. Senior seminars are offered by Feminist Studies faculty (FMST 194) and expressly designed to fulfill the senior comprehensive exit requirement. Students are encouraged to select a seminar that converges with their own interests and to make arrangements before or in the fall term of their senior year for enrollment in that seminar. Topics and instructors vary widely from year to year.

2. Senior Thesis

NOTE: For this option, your faculty advisor may require that you complete a FMST 194 first, which you can apply toward one of your 7 upper division FMST courses.

General Information
A senior thesis (FMST 195) must be of substantial length (35 pages), on a subject relevant to feminist studies, and completed in two quarters. Double majors may write a 50-page thesis over three quarters to fulfill the comprehensive requirement for both majors. It is assumed that students will have completed, or are concurrently enrolled in, coursework in the relevant field. For example, a student who has no coursework on Japan cannot write a thesis on women in Japan.

Content Guidelines
A senior thesis generally consists of the following: a review of the literature relevant to the student's subjects and a statement of purpose describing the central theme(s) and its intended audience; a discussion of the methods of work employed in research (often including new methods devised to access subjects' lives and experiences where traditional approaches proved to be inadequate, as well as a representation of the interview process, statistical data, or other research techniques relevant to the student's essay or project); two or three chapters or sections in which the body of ideas is presented and analyzed; a conclusion in which an interpretive synthesis is brought to bear upon the material and future avenues of inquiry may be proposed; reference notes for each of the chapters or sections; and a bibliography (in MLA or APA bibliographic format). The order and character of these five components vary from thesis to thesis. Feminist Studies encourages a flexible and creative approach in keeping with the nature of this discipline; we therefore adapt these components to the student's topic in a manner most appropriate and helpful to it.

Students who plan to write a thesis are urged to begin thinking about it early in their studies and certainly by their junior year. They are encouraged to take courses that will contribute toward their senior thesis. In spring of the junior year, students are expected to select and meet with a thesis advisor to discuss their topic. Department Advisor Anne Eickelberg can assist students (via email: or phone: 459-2757 or in person) in selecting a thesis advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one and preferably two courses with their prospective advisor to establish a working relationship prior to the senior thesis. Students cannot write a thesis without a thesis advisor. Students are required to have one thesis advisor, but may have a second reader/thesis advisor if desired. A preliminary focus for the thesis, a statement of purpose, and an outline should be completed by the end of the junior year. Students should plan to do bibliographic research during the summer between their junior and senior years. During the senior year, students planning to write a senior thesis are required to enroll in FMST l95, an independent study under the supervision of their thesis advisor.

Completing the Thesis
Students nearing completion of a thesis should contact the thesis advisor for a final draft due date, usually two-three weeks before the end of the quarter. Two copies of the approved, completed thesis are required, one for the thesis advisor and one for the Feminist Studies office. The thesis must be submitted by the last day of instruction for the quarter the student plans to graduate. Due dates for 2023-24 are December 8, March 15, and June 7. The thesis must be typed, double-spaced and bound, and approved by your thesis advisor. Ask your thesis advisor to call or email the Feminist Studies office with their final approval of your thesis.

Students may apply for the Dean's and Chancellor's Undergraduate Awards. Application forms are available in winter quarter at your college office or from the Feminist Studies office. Since the submissions deadline is early April, students applying for this award must complete their thesis by mid-March. Please contact your faculty advisor if you are interested in applying.

Thesis Library
There are over 400 theses in the Feminist Studies Library which contain excellent bibliographic sources in numerous fields and are available for two-week loan. Hundreds of other theses in American studies, anthropology, community studies, history, sociology, etc. are available at Special Collections in the McHenry Library.

3. Senior Project

NOTE: For this option, your faculty advisor may require that you complete a FMST 194 first, which you can apply toward one of your 7 upper division FMST courses.

General Information
Examples of senior projects (FMST 195) include a series of paintings, a photographic exhibit, original music, choreography, or theater. Students who elect to do a senior project must have completed prior coursework in a relevant field. For example, a student who has never taken a creative writing course cannot do a creative writing senior project. The project must be accompanied by a written component, a critical analytical essay of 20 pages with appropriate reference notes and bibliography. A project may also be a literary piece, e.g., poetry, fiction or autobiography, in which case an additional written component is not required. However, at the discretion of the advisor, an introductory essay to the work may be required. During the senior year, students planning to do a senior project are required to enroll in at least one FMST l95, an independent study under the supervision of their project advisor.

Written Component Guidelines and Timetable
See Thesis - Content Guidelines, Timetable, and Completing the Thesis above, and note the following: Students wishing to do a senior project in creative writing must choose a Feminist Studies affiliate faculty member from the Literature Department or the Writing Program as their project advisor. Students may also choose a second project advisor appropriate to the subject matter.