Student Research


"The focus of my research is on conservation initiatives in local maritime communities in Indonesia. I have been assisting the Misool Foundation, a local NGO in Eastern Flores, Indonesia, about a five-hour flight away from the capital of Jakarta. This area is unique for its incredible marine diversity and abundance of large migratory sea animals, and is also home ot the largest manta ray and whale shark fisheries in the world." 

Chloe King

BA Candidate, International Affairs


Independent Study

Independent Study courses are an opportunity for Elliott School of International Affairs students to receive credit for individualized academic projects supervised by a full-time faculty advisor. The faculty advisor may be any full-time GW professor; however, he/she must have knowledge of the issue or topic the student will explore in the independent study. Independent Study coursework must not duplicate courses that are traditionally offered at the University. This research opportunity offers a range of credit options, which are determined by the length of the research paper:

  • 1 credit = 10 page minimum
  • 2 credits = 20 page minimum
  • 3 credits = 30 page minimum

Eligibility

Students must have junior or senior standing and a minimum GPA of 2.5 to register.

Course Requirements

IAFF 3198: Independent Study and Research — To complete the independent study, students must fulfill the following academic requirements:

  • Research Paper: Students must complete a research paper relevant to contemporary international affairs. The paper is to be developed over the course of the semester in conjunction with the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor has final approval on all aspects of the paper except the length, which is described above.
  • Readings: Decisions regarding what books and articles must be read are to be negotiated by the student and the faculty advisor. Faculty advisors may assign readings or they may approve readings that students suggest if they feel the content is appropriate and relevant. In addition, faculty advisors have the authority to set deadlines and assign any related work.
  • Faculty/Student Meetings: The faculty advisor and student will meet regularly throughout the semester.

How to Register for IAFF 3198: Independent Study and Research

Students must submit the Independent Study Guidelines & Form (pdf) to the Undergraduate Academic Advising office. 

Responsibilities for the faculty advisor:

  • Sign the student's Independent Study application
  • Meet with the student regularly during the semester
  • Assign appropriate readings, review/revise the final product periodically
  • Submit a grade at the end of the semester*

* The Elliott School will mail a form to the faculty advisor about two weeks prior to the end of the semester to request a grade.

 

Research Seminar 

Research Seminar courses provide an opportunity for students to write a substantial research paper on an issue related to the general subject of the seminar. Students will earn 3 credit hours by completing a Research Seminar course (IAFF 4191 or 4191W).

Eligibility

Students must meet all of the following requirements in order to register for a Research Seminar:

  1. Junior or Senior Status (60 or more earned credit hours)
  2. Cumulative GPA must be 3.4 or higher at time of application

Course Requirements

IAFF 4191: Research Seminar — To complete the Research Seminar, students must attend a course that meets weekly. The seminars can be viewed on GWEB or on the GW Schedule of Classes by searching for IAFF 4191 or IAFF 4191W. Research Seminars topics vary and are subject to availability (Some topics are not offered each semester).

How to Register for the IAFF 4191: Research Seminar

Students must submit a Registration Transcation Form (RTF) (pdf) to your academic advisor. Your academic advisor will then verify your eligibility, and sign you into the course.

Earning Elliott School Special Honors

Students who complete a Research Seminar course with a grade of A- or higher, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.7 upon graduation, and earn 60 credit hours in residence at GW will be awarded Special Honors. Special Honors is noted on a line of the final transcript that indicates graduation with Special Honors from the Elliott School.

Please note ESIA Special Honors is designated to students participating in the Research Seminar in their final year of study. Juniors who take the Research Seminar can take another Research Seminar during their Senior Year if they wish to qualify for ESIA Special Honors and concurrently satisfy additional requirements within their specific plan of study. Students are encouraged to consult with their Academic Advisor if planning on taking the Research Seminar as a Junior. 

 

Senior Thesis 

The Senior Thesis is an opportunity for students to participate in a semester-long independent research project under the guidance of a full-time faculty member. During the semester, students will d write a substantial research paper on an issue related to international affairs. Students will earn 3 credit hours for completing the Senior Thesis course (IAFF 4199). 

Eligibility

Students must meet all of the following requirements prior to applying for registration.

  1. 90 or more earned credit hours
  2. Cumulative GPA must be 3.4 or higher at the time of application
  3. Final Year of study at GW

Course Requirements

IAFF 4199: Senior Thesis — Students must conduct original research and write 30 or more pages about an international affairs topic of their choice. Students are responsible for finding a GW faculty advisor who is willing to meet on a regular basis throughout the semester to supervise the research and writing process.  The faculty advisor must be a full-time faculty member.

How to Apply/Register for IAFF 4199 Senior Thesis

Seniors applying for the thesis option (fall or spring) are required to attend an information session. Please note that students cannot register for the Senior Thesis via GWeb. Additional information about the registration process will be provided at the required information session.

Semester/Course Option Online Application Due *Information Session Dates (Elliott School, Suite 302) Thesis Approval Form Due

Fall 2018 

IAFF 4199 Senior Thesis

Sunday, August 26, 2018 Aug 28, 1-2pm
Aug 29, 12-1pm
Aug 30, 2-3pm
Sept 4, 10-11am
Sept 5, 3-4pm
Friday, September 7, 2018

Spring 2019 

IAFF 4199 Senior Thesis

Sunday, January 13, 2019 Jan 15, 1-2pm
Jan 16, 10-11am
Jan 17, 2-3pm
Jan 22, 12-1pm
Jan 23, 11am-12pm
Friday, January 25, 2019

Earning Elliott School Special Honors

Students who complete a Senior Thesis with a grade of A- or higher, earn a cumulative GPA of 3.7 upon graduation, and earn 60 credit hours in residence at GW will be awarded Special Honors. Special Honors is noted on a line of the final transcript that indicates graduation with Special Honors from the Elliott School.

 

Submit an Online Application and download the Senior Thesis Approval form (pdf)

 

Funding Opportunities 

To encourage students to participate in faculty-led research projects or to pursue their own original research, the Elliott School offers two types of awards.

1) Awards to Participate in Faculty-Led Research Projects

Elliott School faculty may seek outstanding students to assist them with an original research project. Selected students will receive an undergraduate research award of up to $1,500. The size of the award will depend on the amount of research work the undergraduate is likely to perform. Although an Elliott School faculty member must lead the research project, the student recipients of these awards are not required to be Elliott School students.

2) Undergraduate Research Awards for Student-Initiated Projects

These awards are designed to help with student research expenses (e.g., data collection, the purchase of research materials, and project-related travel). To be eligible to apply, the student must be an Elliott School undergraduate who is enrolled in a Senior Thesis, Research Seminar, or Independent Study course.

In addition to the above awards, students may find research funding opportunities at the their center, institute, or program.