The faculty thesis supervisor and the student are responsible for assembling the panel of reader/ examiners, and scheduling the oral examination. Ordinarily, the panel consists of at least three persons—two from the Political Science faculty and one from outside the department (possibly off campus).

The Honors thesis defense includes a formal presentation of the project’s main findings (12-15 minutes) followed by an oral examination by the faculty panel. The entire defense typically lasts 60 minutes and is open to the campus community. When the panel has finished asking questions, there may be an opportunity for questions from the audience, as time allows. The presenter must thus craft a presentation that engages both a faculty panel that has read the thesis, as well as an audience unfamiliar with the project.

Approval of the Honors thesis will be made by the faculty panel based on criteria appropriate to each project, but meeting the standards of exceptional research effort, distinctive analysis and interpretation, and effective writing. The panel will also provide the student with comments and recommendations for final revision of the project. Oral examinations must be completed no later than the date specified from the Academic Programs Office (typically the third week of April).

The final editing and preparation of the Honors thesis to be submitted to the Academic Programs Office should reflect the recommendations of the Honors panel and meet the format and copy standards of professional social scientists. Students must submit their Honors thesis to Academic Programs no later than the specified date (typically the last week of April).