Capstone Requirements

All IR majors are required to complete a capstone within their Thematic Concentration. The capstone requirement MUST be fulfilled at Tufts; students may not use transfer courses for their capstone requirement. IR majors must fulfill the capstone requirement by completing one of the following:

Upper-level Seminar

Consult the Curriculum page for more information about upper-level seminars in your Thematic Concentration. Some seminars require pre-requisites or are listed as 'high demand' courses that include specific registration procedures. Therefore, we suggest that students familiarize themselves with seminar requirements that meet the capstone to ensure that they have completed the pre-requisites and/or can meet the 'high demand' procedures.

IR Directed Research (INTR 195 or INTR 196)

A Directed Research Project enables students to pursue focused independent research in a specific subject area for one semester. Completion of this project will satisfy the IR capstone requirement. A student may also choose to undertake a directed research project as an elective to reach the total number of courses needed to complete the Thematic Concentration if they have already fulfilled all of the requirements for that Thematic Concentration. Completed applications must be submitted no later than one week prior to the last day for AS&E students to add classes for the current term.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the IR Directed Research Application.
  2. Submit completed applications electronically to, with the subject heading "IR Directed Research application".
  3. Once the application has been received, the IR Program must certify that the content of the project is applicable to the student's Thematic Concentration. Once the IR Program has approved the project, the student will be given permission to register via the One-on-One Course Form.

IR Senior Honors Thesis (INTR 197 and INTR 198)

An IR senior honors thesis enables students to pursue focused independent research in a specific international relations topic in their senior year, produce an outcome that demonstrates exceptional undergraduate achievement, and fulfill the capstone requirement in the IR major.

The Thesis Application

Eligible students majoring in International Relations must:

The Thesis Faculty Advising Committee

To undertake an honors thesis, a student must find at least two faculty members willing to serve as thesis committee members, as follows:

  • A full-time Tufts IR core faculty member to serve as committee chair/primary thesis advisor
  • A Tufts faculty member to serve as second reader

As IR is an interdisciplinary major, students may wish to exercise the option of finding a third reader. This may be a faculty member at Tufts or another institution, or someone with particular and relevant expertise outside of academia.

The Thesis Process

Approved IR senior honors thesis applicants will be given permission to enroll in INTR0197 in the fall of senior year. This is a required weekly seminar, held in conjunction with Political Science honors thesis students, designed to explore research and methodological issues and provide opportunities to critique and improve each other’s written work. Students will then automatically be enrolled in INTR0198 in the spring of senior year, at which time they will work independently to complete their research and periodically meet with their thesis faculty advising committee. The thesis culminates in a defense (oral, written, or both) with the committee members. The nature and logistics of the thesis process in the spring, including the defense, are entirely up to the student and their committee members to establish. Based on the quality of thesis work, degrees are designated bachelor of arts with highest thesis honors, high thesis honors, or thesis honors and will be acknowledged at graduation.

Consult the senior honors thesis overview and timeline (with important deadlines) here, detailed policies and procedures here, and the Tufts University Bulletin for additional guidance on faculty advising committees, the thesis defense, and thesis honors.