The Political Science Department Honors Program recognizes outstanding student achievement in undertaking and presenting independent inquiry in the discipline.


General eligibility guidelines:

  • Advanced placement in the major (six courses including a POLI 300)
  • Cumulative GPA : 3.5
  • Department GPA: 3.6

Process & Deadlines:

The Department encourages qualified students to consider this unique research opportunity, noting that rigorous academic preparation (this may include but is not limited to reading broadly on the topic, improving methodological skills, and staying in contact with one or more faculty members) is required and that successful projects demand a substantial intellectual and time commitment. The Honors Program is open to all qualified students, though it is particularly well suited for students who intend to go to graduate school.

Step 1:  All juniors, including those who are studying away in the spring term, must indicate their interest in pursuing a senior Honors project by filing an “Intent to Pursue an Honors Project” with the department chair.  This form should be completed no later than March 31st of Junior year (see form). In early April, department faculty will email students whose projects they are willing to support given student demand and faculty capacity.  Thus, it is important that each student list more than one possible faculty supervisor, in case their first-choice supervisor is not available or has too many projects to reasonably supervise.

Step 2:  By early-November (before fall registration) students continuing along the Honors path must submit a capstone draft that demonstrates significant written progress.  Projects meeting this metric will be invited to enroll in POLI 404.  Final capstones must indicate potential for the successful completion of an Honors project.

Spring Honors Colloquium

POLI 404, The Honors Colloquium, will be offered each spring as a 4-credit course.  In POLI 404 students will expand upon and significantly revise their capstones in consultation with the Honors supervisor and their peers.

To receive departmental Honors, POLI 404 students must:

  1. Expand, revise, refine, or develop the senior thesis in accordance with the recommendations of their Honors advisor. The goal in making these revisions is to produce a professional quality paper that clearly articulates an answer to a question of relevance in political science.
  2. Successfully complete an oral defense of the Honors project with the Honors committee members. The oral defense will begin with a public presentation and the opportunity for audience questions to be followed by the oral defense with the Honors committee.