Sophomore Proposal Guidelines
All sophomore students who wish to continue in the International Studies major must submit a brief proposal early in the spring semester. The purpose of the proposal is twofold.
- First, we want to encourage you to begin formulating your own interests in the field of International Studies. Most students begin by thinking about issues in the core courses that they have found interesting. You will pursue this interest in your four-course concentration.
- Second, we want you, with advice from a primary faculty advisor and a secondary faculty advisor from the International Studies Program Committee, to make a coherent plan for how you will pursue your interests in International Studies during your final two years at Denison. This involves charting out your courses in International Studies for the next two years—including coursework from off-campus study programs that you wish to count toward the INTL major.
Our goal is to help you integrate coursework, off-campus study (or an internship), and language training in a way that allows you to develop a coherent area of expertise within International Studies. Since this is a double major, we also help you articulate how the two majors together allow you to shape a distinctive intellectual enterprise for yourself. We also need to make sure that you will be able to fit in all the requirements of International Studies and another major. Of course, some parts of your curriculum plan may change—courses may not be offered, off-campus study plans may be altered for a variety of reasons, or you may decide to shift focus on your concentration as a result of developing an interest in a different topic. The proposal will allow us to help you make an initial plan and make good decisions about revisions to that plan should the need arise.
In writing your concentration proposal you will have the advice and guidance of two faculty members from the International Studies program committee who will be assigned to you. You will need to meet with them as you develop your proposal. The International Studies Committee reserves the right not to accept a proposal from any student who has not met with her/his advisor.
The proposal is to be submitted electronically on the Blackboard page.
The proposal consists of several parts:
- A proposal cover sheet
- Supporting Questions
- A two-page (double-spaced 12-point font, one-inch margins) Statement of Purpose
- A Bibliography of 10-15 key sources
- A curriculum plan
There are several stages to the proposal writing process.
On Thursday, January 19, at 4:30 there will be a required meeting for all sophomores who are considering writing a proposal.
You will be assigned a primary and a secondary International Studies faculty members as advisors for writing your proposal. The primary advisor is the main faculty person with whom you will write, edit, and think through your proposal. You will need to meet with this professor no later than Monday, January 30 to begin the proposal writing process. The secondary advisor is a faculty member who will provide additional guidance and feedback to make your proposal stronger and more comprehensive. You may need to meet with them again after the International Studies Program Committee has read your proposal and suggested revisions.
Since proposal writing of this sort may be new to you, we will have a workshop on how to write a proposal. Professor Brenda Boyle, Director of the Writing Center and a member of the International Studies Program Committee will lead this workshop. This workshop will be on Friday, February 10 from 3-5pm.
In developing your proposal you will need to start by doing some background research on the theme of your concentration. Look at books and journal articles on the broader theme of your concentration, on sub-themes that are specific to your concentration, and the part of the world on which you will focus your concentration. As part of your proposal, you must submit a bibliography of 10 to 15 key sources. These must include both books and articles from scholarly journals. Some but not all of these may be books and articles you have read for courses. We do not expect that you will have read all of these sources; but it should be clear why they are on your bibliography, and we do expect that you will have read them all by the time you begin your off-campus study and senior seminar. The bibliography should be in one of the standard bibliographical formats found on the Denison Library section.
Developing your proposal will also require that you do some research about available courses, both at Denison and on your off-campus program, that will allow you to study your proposed topic. You will need to research courses in the Denison catalogue and on the web pages of the relevant departments. You may want to contact specific faculty members for more information about their courses. You will also need to contact the relevant departments to find out when the specific courses will be offered while you are at Denison. Departments may not be able to give you specific information about when courses will be offered. Because of this unavoidable uncertainty, we require that in your proposal you list an alternate course for every course in your concentration that you have not yet taken. (You need to list and discuss alternatives only for future courses, not past and present ones.) Two courses in your concentration can be taken off campus, and two can be cross-listed and double-counted with your other major. (Courses cannot be double-counted within your International Studies major.)
On the proposal form, specify which courses you have already taken (or are taking), and which courses you plan to take. Your discussion of these will obviously be different. You will be able to speak concretely to what you have learned from previous courses, whereas you will only be able to speak more generally about what you plan to learn from a future course.
Courses can fill different functions in your concentration. Some study broad International Studies themes (such as migration, human rights, development, gender, cultural production) within which you locate your concentration. Some study the specific topic of your concentration. Some provide you with necessary theoretical skills in a particular discipline. Some provide you with necessary cultural and historical background on the region or period on which your concentration focuses.
What is the function of each of the four courses in your concentration? How will the alternate courses allow you, with some modification, to meet those same intellectual goals?
The International Studies Committee views the proposal writing process as a dialogical process between you and your professors. This is not a graded exercise; instead, it is your chance to take intellectual ownership of your education. To that end the full International Studies Committee devotes several meetings in March to reading and discussing each proposal, and making suggestions for ways to improve or clarify your educational plan as you move forward. You will receive these comments in the form of a letter from the Program Director, Professor Lele.
After you receive the letter from Professor Lele, you will need to schedule another meeting with your advisors to discuss any suggested revisions.
If you are required to submit a revised proposal, the revised proposal is due on Monday, April 16, uploaded onto Blackboard.
Schedule and deadlines in the proposal process are as follows:
- Thursday, Jan 19, 4:30 pm, Fellows 207: initial required meeting for all sophomores planning to submit proposals
- Friday, Jan 20: you will be notified who your primary and secondary advisors are
- Monday, Jan. 30: by this date you should have your first meeting with your primaryproposal advisor
- Wednesday, Feb. 8, 4:30 pm: workshop with Prof. Brenda Boyle of the Writing Center on how to write a proposal
- Monday, Feb 20, 5pm: completed proposal due on the Blackboard proposal submission page.
- March: International Studies Committee will read all proposals, and return comments to you as soon as possible to address possible revisions.
- Monday, April 23: If revisions are required, revised completed proposal due by this date. Submit (revised) proposal on the Blackboard submission page.
Faculty Members of the International Studies Committee
Veerendra Lele, Director (International Studies and Sociology/Anthropology), Taku Suzuki (International Studies), Gary Baker (Modern Languages), Brenda Boyle (English), Jeehyun Lim (English), Diane Mafe (English), Isis Nusair (Women's Studies/International Studies - on leave) Jim Pletcher (Political Science), Quentin Duroy (Economics), Peggy Wang (Art History), Sangeet Kumar (Communication), Andrew Law (Off-Campus Studies), John Cort (Religion), Ping Yang (Communication), Damien Mahiet (Music). You can learn more about the scholarly areas of interest of our faculty on the International Studies home page.