Honors Theses

Advising honors theses is one of the most rewarding experiences I get to have here at Wesleyan. That said, it is not for every student as the choice to do an honors thesis often requires trade-offs for other worthwhile activities (academic and non-academic). A general resource that might be of use to you in preparing for an honors thesis (or doing other research papers at Wesleyan) is this: http://govthesis.site.wesleyan.edu/

Do you want to do an Honors Thesis with me?

First, I strongly urge that any student who wants to work with me consider applying for the Davenport Grant. Those applications are usually due before Spring Break of your junior year. That means you should come talk to me BEFORE this date if you are interested in working with me on an honors thesis.

Pay attention to Department Guidelines as well: Government Department Link.

If you think you are interested in working on an honors thesis with me, then I require that you consider the following questions:

  • Do you meet the Government Department’s guidelines for eligibility and candidacy?
  • Are you a Government Department Major?
    • If you are NOT a Government major, please keep in mind that Government majors generally take priority. However, I have advised a number of theses from CSS and am open to alternative possibilities.
  • Do you really want to work with me?
    • A list of past theses I have advised is available at the bottom of this page.
  • Do you fit within my personal selection criteria?
    • I prefer students who have taken my classes and earned an A- or better in those classes.
    • I prefer students whose topics of interest clearly overlaps with my own research and teaching (International Relations, African Politics, International Law, International Political Economy, International Organizations, Global Environmental Politics). If you have any questions about whether your own topic fits, just email me and ask.
    • Students must meet with me during the Spring semester of their junior year.
    • Students must prepare a research prospectus during Spring semester of their junior year for my evaluation.
    • I usually limit myself to advising two theses in any given year. This allows me to devote the necessary time and energy to the advising process for each of you.
  • Are you ready to do the work? Before I agree to keep you through the Fall Semester, I will expect you to…
    • Work on the thesis over the summer between your Junior and Senior years, including literature review and perhaps some research.
    • Produce, in consultation with me, prior to the end of the drop/add period in the fall semester of their senior year, a preliminary, general outline for the thesis chapters (2-3 pages in length) and preliminary deadlines for the completion of the chapters.

Theses I have advised:


Olivia Glick. Government. Wesleyan University. “An Unfulfilled Promise: Persistent Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa”. Included fieldwork in South Africa. Awarded High Honors in Government.


Aletta Brady. Government. Wesleyan University. “Freshwater Negotiation in the Nile River Basin: What Explains the Patterns of Conflict and Cooperation?” Included fieldwork in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Awarded Honors in Government.

Chloe E. Holden. Government. Wesleyan University. “Don’t Bet the Farm: Insights from Two Cases of Agricultural Policy Adjustment.” Awarded Honors in Government.


Renee Dunn, CSS. “You Win Some, You Lose Some: The Political Economy of Formal Entrepreneurship in Kampala, Uganda.” Included fieldwork in Uganda. Awarded High Honors in the College of Social Studies.


No theses due to sabbatical


Rachel Levenson, Government. “Why, despite the prevalence of microfinance institutions in Uganda, do moneylenders continue to exist?” Included fieldwork in Uganda. Awarded High Honors in Government.

Kathlyn Pattillo, CSS. “The South African Teachers’ Union and Leadership in Umlazi high schools”. Included fieldwork in South Africa. Awarded High Honors in the College of Social Studies.


Allison Cies, Government. “Accounting for Patterns of Fertility in East Asia.” Awarded High Honors in Government.

Miranda Becker, CSS. “Call and Response: The European Union and China in Assisting African Development.” Included fieldwork in Europe. Awarded Honors in the College of Social Studies.


Julien Burns, Government.“Facilitating Development: The Potential of NGOs, Corporations and the U.S. Government to Alleviate Poverty in Kenya.” Included fieldwork in Kenya. Awarded Honors in Government.

Melina Aguilar, CSS.“The Paradox of the Cuentos Chinos: The Future of Sino-Ecuadorian Relations.” Awarded Honors in the College of Social Studies.


Kenton K. Atta-Krah, Government and French Studies. “From Business Usual to Business Unusual: Exceptionalism in Africa’s relationships with France & China.” Included fieldwork in Ghana. Awarded High Honors in Government and French Studies.