Politics majors are trimming their sentences after the department announced a new rule intended to rein in thesis writers. Students have been urged to hew to a 125-page limit to encourage them “to consider the value of editing and efficient presentation,” said Markus Prior, the department’s director of undergraduate studies. “We want to counter the impression that one has to write a very long thesis to get a top grade or win a prize.”
Seniors who defy the crackdown may face penalties: Anything after page 125 may not be read by the second reader, and the thesis will not be considered for departmental prizes.
Still, of the 17 departments that offer thesis-length guidelines, politics and the Woodrow Wilson School are the most generous at 125 pages. Other limits range from 40 pages (chemical and biological engineering) to 100 (history and three other departments).
It’s unlikely any of this year’s seniors will outdo Jeanne Faust ’76, whose thesis — about F. Scott Fitzgerald ’17 — weighed in at 756 pages, the longest of the more than 63,000 theses at Mudd Library.
How long was your thesis, and would you have read it if you didn’t write it? Share your story in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.