Honors Thesis

The Political Science honors thesis program

Political Science offers an honors program for outstanding undergraduate students who wish to undertake original research and writing under the direction of a faculty sponsor. This program is designed to guide you in advanced scholarly work, culminating in a thesis project that must be orally defended before two faculty members.

Available tracks

  • A minimum of 4 credit hours of POLS-Y 499: 3-credit honors thesis seminar in the fall semester, and at least 1 credit in the spring semester. Usually done in senior year.
  • The thesis must earn a grade of B+ or higher to receive departmental honors.
  • Seminar in Political Analytics: POLS-Y 490 Senior Seminar—Approved Topic: Political Analytics.
  • Graduate course in Political Science: 1 course at the 500-699 level, excluding POLS-Y 576 and POLS-Y 579.
  • Two Analytic Methods courses: POLS-Y 395 (Quantitative Political Analysis) and either POLS-Y 576 or POLS-Y 579.
  • Honors thesis: Present an acceptable honors thesis that earns a grade of B+ or higher. The thesis should be a product of the Political Science graduate course taken (but not POLS-Y 576 or POLS-Y 579).
  • Enroll in the "Honors Colloquium" section of POLS-Y 499 for three (3)  credits in the fall semester and one (1) credit in the spring semester of the student's senior year.
  • Students enroll in a graduate seminar in Political Science. The research paper for the seminar serves as the basis for the honors thesis and the instructor of the graduate seminar becomes the chairperson of the student's honors committee. Students then work with their honors committee to complete an honors thesis.
  • Thesis must earn a grade of B+ or higher to receive departmental honors.

Note: Students on this track will still need to complete all other degree requirements. (For example, if they are a Political Science B.A. student, they will still need to complete the Senior Seminar requirement [POLS-Y 490 or POLS-Y 499])

Regardless of track, please note that all honors candidates must also have a GPA of at least 3.5 in Political Science at the time of graduation.


How to apply for admission

To be considered for the honors thesis program, please complete the following steps by April 30, 2022:

  • Meet with a Political Science advisor to confirm eligibility. You need to have completed at least one 300-level Political Science course, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 in university courses. An advisor can also tell you whether you satisfy requirements for your selected honors track.
  • Secure support from a Political Science faculty member to sponsor your thesis project.
  • Submit a complete honors application form, including a thesis topic and signatures from advisor and faculty sponsor(s).

Typically, students meet the requirements for application at the beginning of their junior year, but you can consult with your advisor to assess earlier eligibility.

Contact an advisor Fill out the application