Writing a Senior Thesis in GWS

Senior Thesis Timelines

Semester 1

  • This is the exploratory phase of your research. You will read other people’s work and hone your plans for your data or sources. Your thesis advisor might assign a reading list to help you better understand the research that has already been published about your topic.
  • You will also begin to pursue your sources, whether interviews, data sets, historical, or literary sources.
  • As you are reading and compiling notes, use handy tools to help you keep your research organized. This is another area where the Campus Libraries can help you! Get the most up to date tips about how to manage your citations and bibliography from the libraries’ online resources.
  • In consultation with your thesis advisor, you will develop an outline for the write-up of your project by the end of the first semester.
  • Be sure to set up a regular schedule of meetings with your thesis advisor.

Semester 2

  • Lots of writing! Check in with your thesis advisor if you need to adjust your writing schedule.
  • Save your work in multiple spaces such as UW-Madison hosted Box and/or Google Drive.
  • Join a thesis writing group organized by the Writing Center.
  • Consider presenting your research at the annual UW System Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium

Taking care of yourself while you work on a thesis project

Keep talking to your thesis advisor and other folks inside (and outside) the department. Discussing your ideas with faculty and peers will demystify the research and writing process and help you identify immediate next steps.

In addition to the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison offers resources and support for senior thesis writers. You can work individually with a Writing Center tutor or join a group of students working on senior theses.

Some folks find it helpful to organize times to write in community rather than facing the task alone. Along the way, keep evaluating what is working for you and what isn’t. When you experience a challenging point in the process, your thesis advisor, other folks in the department, and resources on campus are there to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.