As a CIS major, your senior thesis or capstone is a significant part of your experience and it is important to stay on track with planning and key milestones/deliverables during the fall and spring semesters.

In planning for your senior year, you should consider the following:

CIS Research Presentations 

September through March; 2022-23 

Formerly the CIS “lunches,” these gatherings are a beloved CIS tradition. For 2022-23, the CIS Presentations are scheduled to be in person. The Center will make adjustments (such as switching to Zoom, for example) as necessary to follow Davidson College COVID guidelines. The CIS research presentations are a great opportunity for interdisciplinary majors and their advisers to get to know each other away from the office or the classroom. The majority of our presentations will be from CIS senior majors in the midst of their thesis research. These presentations are a requirement for seniors in order to gain feedback on their work and practice oral presentation skills. Occasionally, faculty or visiting scholars will offer presentations.   

Early in the fall semester, the CIS Director will host a workshop on oral presentations for an interdisciplinary audience in conjunction with the Speaking Center. Keep in mind that presentations should be ten to fifteen minutes in length followed by a Q&A of equal length. Students should introduce their topic and research question, briefly offer highlights of the literature review, clarify the contribution of their research to the field, explain the method, and offer findings to date. Given that these presentations are based on research in progress, this is an excellent opportunity to have your project grow thanks to feedback from fellow CIS students and CIS faculty. CIS seniors, in particular, will want to attend as many presentations as possible to learn from the model of fellow majors as well as contribute to the intellectual discussions. The reciprocity comes when it's your turn to present; you will notice how doing a presentation and thinking about the comments help push your project to a higher level.

CIS Presentation Schedule 2022-23 

Wall 281 (Creative Crossroads)
Monday noon to 1 p.m. and Tuesday 11:05 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.


  • Tuesday, Oct. 4: Emma Jones, Neuroscience Major & Lillian Byer, Neuroscience Major
  • Monday, Oct 17: Rachel Clubine Horowitz, Public Health Major & Julia Lau, Digital and Screen Media Major
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1: Morgan Martin, Immersive Computing Major 
  • Monday, Nov. 14: Amani Sodhi, Digital and Screen Media Major & Christine Ahn, Educational Studies Major


  • Tuesday, Jan. 31: Gwen Van Doren, Social, Digital & Computational Studies Major & Skylar McVicar, Politics, Ethics & Religion Major
  • Tuesday, February 14: Jordan Benson, Neuroscience Major & Anna Sharp, Public Health Major
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28: Abby Murray, Philosophy, Politics & Economics Major & Isabelle DePue, Linguistics
  • Tuesday, March 21: Catherine Diop, Feminist Science Studies Major & Abby Francis, Educational Studies Major

Additional Important Dates

  • Tuesday, April 25: End of Year wrap up meeting
  • Monday, May 1: Senior Banquet: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Lilly Gallery 

Adviser Meetings 

Ongoing, students schedule with their advisers

As a CIS major, you should meet frequently with your advisers. Every semester, advisers complete progress forms to inform the CIS director of students’ progress. During the senior year, majors will meet frequently with their advisers as part of their senior year coursework in CIS 495 (fall) and CIS 496 (spring).


Grant Opportunities 

Limited funding is available for international research trips for seniors over winter break through Dean Rusk’s Fall Grant Cycle.

Dean Rusk International Studies Program Travel Grants

Conference Funding

Assistance is available to help fund students travel for those who present their work at conferences. Contact Pat Gardner ( in the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Library Carrels and Extended Loan Privileges 

Carrels and lockers are available by application through the library using their online application form (login required).

CIS senior thesis students can request extended loans at check-out at E.H. Little Library. Books on extended loan are subject to recall. Any books needed for the spring must be renewed before the end of the fall semester.

Please check E.H. Little Library for any changes to policies due to COVID-19.

Senior Year CIS Courses

CIS 495 (All CIS majors)

CIS 495 is a fall semester course required for all majors, both capstone and thesis students. The CIS director will provide all senior majors with a basic syllabus including deadlines and required workshops (oral presentation/writing center). Each student must work with their advisor to clarify the details of work expectations and additional deadlines throughout the semester. The finalized syllabus will be due to advisors by noon on Friday of the third week of the semester.

CIS 496 (CIS Thesis Students only)

CIS 496 is a spring semester course required for CIS thesis students. The CIS director will provide all senior thesis students with a basic syllabus including deadlines and required workshops. Each student must work with their advisor to clarify the details of work expectations and additional deadlines throughout the semester. The finalized syllabus will be due to advisors by noon on Friday of the first week of the semester.

Thesis Defense

All thesis students must hold a thesis defense with the CIS Director and their two faculty advisers. The hour-long defense consists of a brief presentation (no more than 15 minutes) by the student and a question & answer period with advisers and the CIS director.  Presentations should be noticeably different from the earlier presentation in the year in that they will reflect the growth of the project across the year. The presentation structure (introduce the topic, brief literature review, explain methods, and highlight findings or argument) will be similar. Typically, students use a PowerPoint for their presentations. For the remaining 45 minutes, professors will have prepared questions to ask the student and everyone will engage in a conversation about the work (process and product).  Students who wish to hold an open defense and invite other members of the Davidson College community to listen to their presentation should contact the CIS Director to discuss format.  

Further, thesis students will participate in the Verna Miller Case Symposium, held on the day before Reading Day during Spring Semester.

Thesis deadlines to consider in advance:

  • Full draft of the thesis due to both advisers at noon on Friday before Spring Break
  • Finished thesis due by noon on the first Friday in April
  • Thesis defenses will be scheduled in January by the CIS Program Coordinator and held during the third and fourth weeks of April.  

Course Changes

Please only request course changes in situations that are outside of your control (e.g., the course that was approved is no longer offered at Davidson). This request would likely only occur for one course at maximum per student in those unique situations. Please do not make requests for convenience as your approved contract has been previously carefully vetted by a committee.  The Course Change form can be found on Kuali. (Davidson login required)

Celebration of CIS Majors

The CIS banquet for all CIS seniors will be held on the Monday before Reading Day to celebrate the work of students across the Center.