There are three main writing options:

  • A seminar paper
  • A research proposal/grant proposal (without empirical analysis)
  • Six response papers reacting to course readings (approximately 1,500 words each).

Other genres require instructor permission; you will need to describe how writing in a different genre will help you and meet the goals of the class. If you are writing a paper or research proposal, you are required to have at least one in-depth discussion with us about this assignment prior to turning it in.

We recommend that graduate students write a seminar paper or grant proposal. Graduate students who choose to write response papers should aim to achieve the insight and analysis of a review essay.

We recommend that undergraduates write response papers. Undergraduates who choose to write seminar papers or other types of assignments must get specific permission from the instructors.

Term papers are due by Session 11. Response papers are due at midnight the night before class discussing the readings to which you are responding.

Writing comprises 75% of the final grade.

Student Examples - Response Papers

"Authoritarianism" (PDF)

"Political Violence" (PDF)

Student examples appear courtesy of MIT students and are anonymous by request.