When Do Students Write Their Honors Theses?

Most of the students write an honors thesis in their senior year, though it might be possible for upper juniors to enroll. If you are thinking of writing an honors thesis, contact Prof. Thomas Halper, Honors Thesis Liaison for Political Science, one full semester prior to the anticipated start date.

How Long Does an Honors Thesis Take?

A thesis is a two-semester project that involves in-depth and original research of an empirical and/or theoretical question in the field of Political Science. Since the thesis constitutes six credits of the baccalaureate degree program, it should reflect a significant time commitment, be of high quality, and demonstrate personal intellectual growth.

Is There an Application Deadline?

The deadline for the prospectus is April 1 for a student who wishes to begin the thesis in the Fall semester, and November 1 for a student who wishes to begin the thesis in the Spring semester. Please bear in mind that writing a good prospectus takes some time.

How Many Credits Do Students Receive for Writing an Honors Thesis?

Students writing an honors thesis need to enroll in POL 6001H in the first semester and POL 6002H in the second, and they will earn a total of six credits for completing a thesis (three credits per semester). These credits will be accepted as part of the 24 credit major.

How Do Students Find a Faculty Mentor?

Students who want to write an honors thesis in Political Science can only work with mentors who are full-time faculty in the Political Science (unfortunately, adjunct professors are not eligible). You should try to find a faculty member who has expertise in the area where you want to do research. Though not a formal requirement, it is preferable that students have taken a class with the faculty mentor they want to work with. For help with finding an appropriate mentor, you may also contact Prof. Thomas Halper, Honors Thesis Liaison for Political Science.

How Many Other Faculty Are Involved?

By the end of the first semester, you and your mentor will set up a committee of at least two thesis readers. The readers should be faculty in our department. (Qualified faculty outside our department are generally accepted as well. In this case, you or your mentor should inform the Chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Honors before submitting the thesis for review.)

What can I do to prepare?

We generally recommend taking a political science course in the area of your interest, as well as a course that introduces you to the research process in a methodological sense. For the latter, definitely consider taking POL 3000 – Research Skills in Political Science before you start working on your thesis. This course will give you the tools you need to maneuver the challenge.