Political Science Honors

The Department of Political Science has two tracks by which students can obtain departmental honors.

Track 1: A minimum 3.7 GPA in upper level Political Science courses, as of the end of the semester before they graduate (e.g., the fall semester if they are graduating in the spring).

Track 2: For students whose GPA in upper level Political Science classes is between 3.6 and 3.7 at the end of the semester prior to graduation can receive honors by writing a thesis. They must commit to writing this thesis by the end of the second week of the semester in which they will graduate.  They must obtain the support and signatures of two faculty who will evaluate this thesis.  One of these faculty must be a tenured or tenure-track member of the department.  The student's intention and the signatures of the faculty will be recorded on a form that the student turns into the Director of Undergraduate Studies by this deadline. The intention form is available for download here.

The thesis is due three weeks before the last day of classes in the semester in which the student will graduate.  The student will then have two additional weeks to undertake any further revisions suggested by the two faculty. At the end of these two weeks, the Director of Undergraduate Studies must receive a completed form from the student that includes the written approval of the two faculty members. The approval form is available for download here.

The criteria for the honors thesis are as follows:

  • The thesis must investigate a clear research question, whether empirical or normative. 
  • It must rigorously examine data, texts, and/or other evidence to evaluate that question. 
  • It must be or exceed 25 double-spaced pages in length, not including any bibliography or appendices. 
  • The expectation is that the thesis will be of extraordinary quality, exceeding that of the typical research paper in an upper-division political science course.  

The GPA in upper level PSC classes is calculated using only PSC upper level or 2000, 3000 and 4000 level classes with no substitution classes and no transfer classes.

The designation of Honors appears on the student's transcript, not on the diploma.