American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Senior Thesis Projects

Senior Thesis Projects

Senior Project Guidelines for Human Rights Concentration 

A senior project in the AUCA is an original, individual, intellectual, and creative activity that rounds out and caps each student’s program of study. It is a student-driven and teacher-guided project that demonstrates and celebrates the knowledge and skills acquired during their four years of liberal arts education at AUCA.  Before completing the senior project make certain that you fully understand what is expected and needed to complete it. It is critical that you carefully read this policy. The policy defines the project, its form and format. If you fail to follow the format and structure as set out in these guidelines, this will negatively impact your overall grade for your senior project.

Senior thesis in Human Rights Concentration

Senior thesis shall be based on major human rights problem primarily driven by inter-disciplinary approach. There should be a central issue, question or puzzle which the thesis will address. Primary recommendations, conclusions and overall solutions of resolving the issue shall be based on inter-disciplinary approach, meaning reflect the basic skills/knowledge and experience acquired during 4 years of the Bachelor`s studies.

What does inter-disciplinary mean?

Since our program prepares young specialists with inter-disciplinary background in human rights, you are required to research problems in the area of human rights adjoined with other fields namely: issues in HR and politics/international relations, HR and anthropology, HR and law, HR and European studies, HR and sociology, HR and Literature, HR and Journalism.

Suggested areas of research for senior thesis (not exhausted list):


Human Rights and Culture

Health and Human Rights

Human Rights and Armed Conflict

Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights and International Crimes

Human rights Education

Business and Human Rights/ Human Rights and Corporations

Indigenous Peoples

Transitional Justice and Human Rights

Individuals at Risk

Children and Human Rights

International Justice

Human Dignity

My body, my rights

Detention and Imprisonment

Poverty and Human Rights


Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Enforced Disappearances

Stop Torture

Freedom of Expression

United Nations and Human Rights


Women's Rights




The senior paper should have a minimum of 10,000 words and maximum of 14,000 words This does not include the cover sheet, table of contents and references. The final paper MUST be typed and double-spaced with one-inch (2.54 cm) margins. The font size must be 12, the font type – Times New Roman. All pages should be consecutively numbered and should appear in the upper right hand corner of the pages. Footnotes should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. The title page, acknowledgements and table of contents should not be numbered.

Structure Requirements:

The project should contain the title page, table of contents, an abstract, introduction, project body, conclusion and bibliography. All headings and subheadings used in the text must correspond to the table of contents. The introduction must include a general overview of the topic, the topic significance, key research question(s), thesis statement, general overview of research problems and the research methodology which was utilized.  Chapters should be balanced in content and volume to the maximum extent possible.  In most cases, papers should contain between 2-3 chapters.  Exceptions to this may be made on a case by case basis.


One of the basic requirements of the senior project is the citation of source material used in the project. Failure to do it may make you vulnerable to a charge of plagiarism in which case your grade will be lowered. If the committed plagiarism offense is serious, you may not be permitted to graduate. Not observance of the plagiarism policy of AUCA in writing and/or submitting student’s thesis paper will impact student’s final grade of senior paper. Students are expected to read and abide by the rules in the Student Academic Dishonesty section of the AUCA Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

Direct quotes from the work of another and paraphrased text should always be cited. Information that is basic, such as important dates, facts, or opinions universally acknowledged need not be cited. When using information that is not widely known, whether fact or opinion, it should always receive a citation. When in doubt, it is safer to cite the material.

The citation should be in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press, 14th. ed. 1993) for grammar and word usage purposes. All citations should be placed in the bibliography, even if the authority is mentioned in the text and footnotes.



Successful completion of the senior project is a prerequisite for student’s graduation from AUCA. To ensure smooth and effective work on the senior project, students are expected to meet the following major deadlines (deadlines are subject to change each year due to changes of Academic Calendar):


  • Submission of a tentative topic: Mid-March of junior year
  • Preliminary topic defense: Mid-April of Junior year
  • Submission of final Senior Thesis topic proposal: September 29 of senior year
  • Departmental approval of topics selected: last two weeks of September of senior year
  • Preliminary departmental defense: last week of March and first week of April of senior year
  • Submission of the final project: last working day of the April of Senior year (by 4 pm electronic

version to and 1 hard copy to the coordinator of the human rights program)

  • Senior project defense: to be announced close to May of a senior year to be determined within

AUCA academic calendar

Students shall submit 1 bound hard copy of their senior projects and one electronic copy in PDF format to AUCA library at subject to the deadline of submission of final project.

Senior Project Assessment

Grading Criteria       

The final grade for the written project shall be based upon the following criteria:

  • Research topic choice and its theoretical or practical value
  • Structure: focus, relevance, clarity, coherence and logic
  • Analysis: depth and development of discussion, reasoning, argumentation, claims and quality of evidence
  • Research design and methodology
  • Compliance with formatting requirements
  • Use of sources and bibliography
  • Writing style and grammar

Grading Process

Students shall participate in the Departmental pre-defense of their senior projects in the first week of April. HR faculty members will evaluate students’ performance. Students working on the senior paper will have 10 minutes for the oral presentation and 15 minutes for responding to questions. Students who do not pass the pre-defense cannot qualify for the defense and, therefore, will not be eligible for graduation from the University. The pre-defense will be graded and the grade received will constitute 10% of the final grade of the senior paper.

            Following the pre-defense students shall submit the senior project in the written form and present it orally during the defense.  The final grade is determined based on the following:

  • evaluation of the written work by the Senior Project Assessment Committee members– 70% (35% - faculty member who is advisor of the paper; 35% - external evaluator and/or member of the State committee as an expert who is not advisor of the paper),
  • oral presentation – 30% (10% of which is allocated to a pre-defense)

Before an actual oral defense students’ works must already be evaluated and graded by the Senior Project Assessment Committee members (also referred to as a State Attestation Commission) and supervisor. Committee members develop a tentative grade based on their assessment of the submitted piece of work. The final grade for each senior project is decided by the Committee immediately after the senior project defense.

To graduate, students must produce and defend the senior project with a grade of no lower than C. Students who defend the senior project with a grade lower than C cannot graduate.


[1] For detailed requirements as to deadlines and, assessment and role of the supervisor please refer to the AUCA university wide policy on Senior Project



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