student discussing research poster to faculty

The Department requires the production and presentation of a thesis poster in lieu of a comprehensive exam. The poster requirement has deepened students’ learning by requiring them to present their work to a wide audience of their peers and faculty members.

Early in the Spring semester, the Department hosts two poster information sessions. A handout with important guidelines will be distributed at that time. Students who are curious about what a poster looks like are welcome to view exemplary posters which are displayed outside of 127 Corwin Hall.

Students are required to upload a PDF of their thesis poster into the Politics Thesis Poster Database by the stated deadline. A link to the database, along with instructions, will be sent as the deadline nears. An initial penalty of 2/3 of a letter grade and an additional penalty of 1/3 of a letter grade for every 24 hours that a poster is late will be applied, beginning at 4:00 pm on the PDF due date. [NOTE: The Department will order and pay for the posters.]

Students must also attend the Senior Thesis Poster Session, which will be held during Reading Period. Students are required to be at the Poster Session for the full duration. 

Seniors’ posters and their oral presentations are evaluated by faculty graders according to the following criteria:

  • Visuals & Mechanics: Is the poster visually appealing, legible, uncluttered, and well written (spelling & grammar)? Does it make effective use of visualizations (graphs, charts)?
  • Research Question: Does the poster clearly state the main research question? Does it show one or several hypotheses that derive from the research question?
  • Methods and Results: Does the poster provide information about the evidence used and link between hypotheses and evidence? Are results presented effectively?
  • Structure & Organization: Does the poster have clear sections, a logical flow, and effective use of labels?                        
  • Oral Presentation: Was the oral presentation clear and within the allocated time? Did it effectively and succinctly communicate the main argument made in the poster?

Beginning with the Class of 2022, the Department will award four $500 outstanding senior thesis poster prizes. Three will be determined by faculty graders, and one will be determined by an audience vote. 

Questions about the thesis poster session requirement should be directed to the Poster Session Coordinator, Vincent Heddesheimer, and Department Coordinator, Gina Palmisano.