College Schools, Departments & Programs

Political Science

Departmental Honors Program

The Department of Political Science makes a special effort to give outstanding students opportunities appropriate to their abilities and interests. In addition to a number of topics courses and small seminars, the department offers a formal program leading to a B.A. with honors.

Admission to the program usually occurs at the end of the sophomore year. Students are eligible to apply if they have completed at least 9 credit hours in political science, including at least one 300-level course, with a minimum grade point average of 3.500 in political science and a minimum overall GPA of 3.300 in university courses. Students must complete an application and meet with the director of honors in the Department of Political Science to discuss the student's proposed program. To attain a degree with honors, students must:

  1. Present an acceptable honors thesis. The thesis must earn a grade of B+ or higher in order for the student to qualify for honors. There are two paths to the thesis:
    • The student researches and writes a thesis, usually over the course of two semesters. Honors students typically enroll in four (4) hours of POLS-Y 499 Honors Colloquium over two semesters (usually in the senior year) and may choose to enroll in up to 6 credits of Y499 for honors thesis research with his or her faculty advisor. The total amount of credit is determined by the chairperson of the student's honors committee. The honors thesis is written under the direction of two faculty members: the faculty supervisor who serves as chairperson of the student's honors committee, and at least one additional member of the honors committee. Graduate students may not serve as honors supervisors.
    • The student arranges with a faculty member to enroll in a graduate seminar in political science. The research paper for that 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. This path is used very infrequently.
  2. In both cases, during the fall and spring semesters of the year in which the thesis is being completed and defended, honors students are required to enroll and participate in the "Honors Colloquium" section of Y499, which will be three (3) credits in the fall semester and one (1) in the spring.

Any exceptions to the above requirements must be approved by the Director of Honors in Political Science.