Requirements and Guidelines
Political Science majors who were admitted to the major by fall semester 1991 and who graduate with a 3.5 or better upper-division grade point average (based upon grades beginning with the semester following the completion of the 60th hour) will be graduated with “Honors” automatically–that is, with no thesis or additional work required.
High Honors and Highest Honors
Students seeking high and highest honors must complete a thesis. The following are the requirements for completing a thesis in the Department of Political Science:
Grade Point Average – Student must have a 3.5 or better upper division grade point average to be eligible for the honors program.
POS 4934 Honors Preparation – May be combined with another upper-division political science course taught by the student’s proposed thesis advisor. More typically, students take honors preparation with a professor they have already taken a course with. A less common option is to find an advisor who you have not taken a class with, so long as the professor is willing to advise you. Students will receive a letter grade for this course. Assignments and grades are at the discretion of the thesis advisor. Students must see the department’s honors coordinator (Professor Beth Rosenson) to register for this course, which is governed by the University’s add/drop policy.
POS 4734 Research Methods in Political Science (3 credits) – See course catalogue for description or click here to go to the Registrar’s course description page. Students must meet with the department’s honors coordinator to register for this course, which is governed by the University’s add/drop policy.
POS 4970 Senior Thesis (2-4 credits, variable)- Written under the direction of the student’s thesis advisor. Students will receive a letter grade for this course. Assignments and grades are at the discretion of the thesis advisor. Students must see the department’s honors coordinator to register for this course, which is governed by the University’s add/drop policy.
Suggested Course Rotation – Typically students take POS 4934 (honors prep) in the fall of their senior year as well as “Research Methods in Political Science” (POS 4734). The final step in the honors program curriculum is the “Honors Thesis Writing Course” (POS 4970). This is typically taken in the final semester of senior year. This is the course in which the honors thesis is actually written under the direction of the student’s faculty supervisor. We also encourage students to take POS 4734 (Research Methods) the spring of junior year so as to get a head start on the thesis over the summer.
Determination of Honors Designation – Students who successfully complete the prescribed courses and write a thesis, are candidates for either “high” or “highest” honors. In evaluating the student’s thesis, the following criteria will be used:
- The student’s mastery of the relevant academic literature.
- Originality of the student’s research.
- The contribution of the student’s research to the field of political science.
It is possible that students may complete the course work and a thesis and not obtain high or highest honors.
Faculty Responsibility and Evaluation of Theses:
Faculty thesis supervisors agree to meet with students on a regular basis and provide feedback on the progress of the student’s project.
The responsibility for mentoring the student’s project lies with the faculty thesis supervisor.
The faculty supervisor is primarily responsible for evaluating the student’s thesis and determining if a high honors designation is warranted. The faculty supervisor may also recommend highest honors to the honors council. Where the faculty supervisor recommends highest honors, the honors coordinator will forward the recommendation to the honors council which will decide if highest honors is warranted. Highest honors is generally given only for those theses which make a significant contribution to the field.
Thesis Submission Guidelines
Final copies of theses are due to the faculty supervisor and the honors coordinator the first week of December for the Fall Semester and the first week of April for the Spring Semester. Exact dates will be announced each semester by the honors coordinator.