Global Gender Studies IDM Honors/Graduation with Distinction Program

GGS majors may culminate their studies with an intensive individual research project under the supervisory guidance of a faculty member. Such projects must be informed by relevant global gender and sexuality theories and scholarship. Applicants typically propose a GGS honors project in the spring term of their junior year. Honors students complete their projects in spring term of their senior year. 

GGS majors are expected to choose a qualified faculty supervisor who is familiar with their work from a course or courses and willing to supervise them in a year-long thesis project. Typically, supervisory faculty are affiliated with Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies or International Comparative Studies.

Students admitted to the Global Gender Studies IDM Honors Program to pursue Graduation with Distinction must complete 16 rather than 14 credits. They must enroll in at least one GGS Honors Independent Study (GGS 491 in fall or GGS 492 in spring) with their thesis supervisor.

GGS majors are encouraged to make an appointment with the DUS in GSF or ICS early in the spring term of junior year to share their initial research interests and thoughts and to receive guidance and answers to questions before approaching a potential faculty supervisor. They should approach a potential supervisor no later than week 6 of spring term of their junior year.

Applicants to the Global Gender Studies IDM Honors Program…
  • must be declared majors in the Global Gender Studies IDM;
  • should have a GPA of at least 3.3 in completed GGS courses by the end of fall term of their junior year (five terms);
  • should have completed ICS 195 and GSF 199 by the end of fall term of their junior year (if not, these courses must be completed by the end of their junior year);
  • should have completed at least 10 of the total 14 GGS required courses by the end of their junior year, about evenly divided between ICS and GSF courses.

Applicants must have met with a faculty member familiar with their work to discuss conceptualization of the research proposal. Applicants ideally solicit feedback from more than one faculty member to prepare a clear and feasible proposal.

Applicants must recruit a faculty member to supervise their year-long thesis research.

Applicants must prepare as one document saved in MS Word composed of a written research proposal and bibliography of approximately 1,500 words. Approximately 10 scholarly sources are reasonable for the bibliography. The research proposal must fulfill recognized academic citation requirements. Multiple universities offer online guidelines for preparing a research proposal, including this one: Research Guides: Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Research Proposal. Applicants are expected to use it to prepare the proposal.

When the proposal is ready, applicants must ask the potential faculty supervisor to submit an email directly to the ICS or GSF Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) affirming their commitment to supervising the student’s thesis research on the basis of the proposal’s relative merits and the student’s past record and potential for success.

The online application is due by April 1st of junior year to the DUSes of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and International Comparative Studies and will require the polished research proposal ready for upload. The deadline may be extended for individual situations discussed with and approved by one of the DUSes.

Spring/Summer: 

If the GGS honors application is approved, the student is expected to meet with their faculty supervisor within a week of completion of spring final exams to make a summer work plan that is articulated and agreed upon in writing. This summer plan typically includes field or archival research or a deeper literature review guided by feedback from the supervisor.

If the research involves “human subjects,” the honors student is required to contact the IRB Office at Duke no later than June 1 between junior and senior year to determine if their approval is required or if the research is “exempted.” If it is not exempted, submit an application for IRB approval immediately. Details are here: https://campusirb.duke.edu/campus-institutional-review-board. Under the FORMS menu item, use the option for research conducted by undergraduates.

Fall:
  • The honors student enrolls in ICS 489S (Capstone Seminar in Global Studies) and the fall GGS Honors Independent Study (GGS 491), supervised by their faculty thesis advisor OR
  • The honors student enrolls in ICS 495S (Honors Seminar), with the option of also enrolling in the fall GGS Honors Independent Study (GGS 491), supervised by their faculty thesis advisor.
  • The student schedules a meeting with their research supervisor by the second week of September to report on their summer progress and agree in writing on a fall work schedule.
  • By mid-December of the senior year, two chapters of the thesis should be in draft form.

The DUSes of ICS and GSF will confer with the faculty supervisor regarding the status of the student’s project and whether sufficient work was completed. The faculty supervisor will confer with the student to determine whether they wish to continue with the research project. If the student and thesis supervisor decide to end the project in fall, the student will receive a grade for work completed in GGS 491. If the student and thesis supervisor decide to continue, they will make an agreement in writing for a work plan through mid-January. They will also agree on a Reader for the project and the student will approach this faculty member as soon as possible in December.

Spring:
  • The honors student schedules a meeting with their research supervisor during the first week of classes to report on their progress, receive guidance and support, and schedule a spring work plan in writing.
  • Students who enrolled in ICS 495S in fall are required to enroll in ICS 496S in spring, with the option to additionally enroll in the spring GGS Honors Independent Study (GGS 492) with their thesis supervisor.
  • Students who enrolled in ICS 498S in fall must enroll in the spring GGS Honors Independent Study (GGS 492) with their thesis supervisor.
  • Students are expected to have completed a polished thesis by mid-April based on original research and engagement with relevant scholarly sources. A common model is three body chapters and an introduction and conclusion. The introduction and body chapters are usually each in the range of 5,000 to 7,000 words in length. The conclusion chapter is typically shorter, about 5 to 10 double-spaced pages. Students pursuing theses that include unconventional research outputs, such as creative or artistic works, performances, and digital exhibits, should consult with their thesis advisor early in the process about how best to present their work as a cumulative honors project for Graduation with Distinction.
  • The final thesis is expected to meet the very highest formal standards of citation and reference quality and completeness.
  • Students are expected to present their work in a public forum for Global Gender Studies in April.
  • Students who graduate with distinction will earn one level, Honors, and will be recognized in the printed Commencement Programs in both departments.
  • By May 10, students are required to submit the final approved thesis to the GSF and ICS DUS as a PDF attachment saved as "Last Name, First Name GGS IDM Thesis Month Year of Graduation ". The thesis will be electronically filed internally. The submitted thesis must include a polished title page: Thesis Title, Full Name of Author, Research Supervisor: Full Name, Reader(s): Full Name(s), "This thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Graduation with Distinction in the Global Gender Studies Interdepartmental Major in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and International Comparative Studies," Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, Year. The title page is followed by a 300 word labeled "Abstract" and an automatically generated "Table of Contents."
  • By May 20, students are invited to submit the final approved thesis to DukeSpace. To do so, send it as an attachment (in MS Word and PDF) to the GSF or ICS Director of Undergraduate Studies and we will reach out to the librarian to begin the process. Follow the instructions regarding save as, title page, abstract, table of contents, and citation and reference quality.