Outstanding political science majors will be offered an opportunity to write an Honors thesis in their senior year on a topic of their devising, in conjunction with a faculty advisor of their choosing. This is a chance for students to pursue their own interests while developing a capacity for sustained, independent research and writing. The Honors program is of particular benefit to students considering graduate level study in political science.
Students who write a thesis will receive credit for one semester of PS 499. The general guidelines for the program are given below. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Diana Schaub, honors director, in Humanities 250M or at ext. 2138.
Guidelines for Honors in Political Science
Students will be invited into the program by the department on the basis of GPA (3.67 in political science; 3.33 overall) during the spring of their junior year. Students will ordinarily be required to complete one seminar at the 400 level before undertaking Honors work. The seminar can be taken in the sophomore, junior, or senior year. Honors work may be done in either the fall or spring of the senior year.
Students who accept the invitation must prepare a formal proposal of their honors project and secure an advisor for the project prior to the start of the honors semester. Proposals should include a prospectus that describes the topic of the thesis, the argument or hypothesis of the thesis, a brief outline that explains how the topic will be addressed, and a preliminary bibliography.
Students must then register for PS 499 (senior thesis) and are expected to meet on a regular basis with their advisor. Timetables for the project should be worked out between the student and the advisor, with the final deadline date approximately one week before the last day of classes. Advisors must see and evaluate every aspect of the project, including all written work.
Honors students will participate in an Honors colloquium, at which they present their work to department faculty and interested students.
Final evaluation: The thesis will be read by the advisor and two other faculty members (one of whom may be from outside the department). The readers will conduct an hour-long oral examination of the student. Based on the oral exam and thesis, the advisor, in consultation with the other two readers, will determine if the student is to receive honors. If the judgment of the committee is that no honors are to be awarded, the student will receive a grade of B+ or lower.
The department will have one copy of the completed thesis bound and catalogued in the Library. Another copy will be bound and kept by the department.