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Indiana University Bloomington

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Honors Program Requirements & Courses

To attain the political science degree with honors, students ordinarily complete:

  • 1-3 credit hours of readings for Y480 on a subject related to their Honors project (usually during their junior year)*
  • 3 hours of the Honors colloquium (Y480) during their senior year
  • 3-12 thesis credit hours of Y499 for researching and writing the thesis*
  • Students are expected to present an acceptable Honors thesis and defend it orally before the Honors committee.

    * An approved graduate seminar may be substituted for either Y480 or part of Y499.

    Honors students must meet all the requirements for the major, as well as for the College degree. Do not expect requirements to be waived.

Enrollment in a Graduate Seminar and Paper

An alternative arrangement for Honors is that following the Y480 exploratory readings (junior year); the student in the fall of the senior year enrolls in a graduate seminar as an undergraduate honors student. The student and instructor of the graduate seminar must agree that the student will write a seminar paper that will serve as the basis for the honors essay and that the instructor will chair the student's honors committee. The student will usually take 2-3 hours of Y499 in the spring semester to complete the thesis.

The Honors Thesis

  • The student must select a faculty sponsor to supervise the research and another faculty member to read the thesis. Both faculty members will evaluate the final thesis and participate in an oral examination on the completed essay.
  • All Honors students working on the thesis are expected to enroll in a special section of Y480 - known as the Honors colloquium-- for 2 credit hours in the fall of their senior year, and for 1 credit hour during their final spring semester. This is NOT a substitute for working with your sponsor.
  • After constituting the committee, and usually while taking the Honors colloquium, the student will prepare a written research proposal. A copy of this proposal must be filed with the Undergraduate office.
  • Students should aim to complete the bulk of research for the thesis by the end of the semester prior to their graduation.
  • After the defense of the thesis before the Honors committee, the faculty sponsors will determine whether the essay is of "honors quality." If so, the committee informs the Undergraduate office, which will send the appropriate recommendation to the College Recorder.
  • If the oral examination committee evaluates the essay as of particularly high quality, the departmental Honors Committee will consider it for the William Jennings Bryan Prize.