The honors program offers high performing political science and international relations majors the opportunity to pursue an individualized research project during the senior year under the supervision of a faculty member. Students in the program enroll in IR/PSC 393W in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year. The end result is a written thesis, which is graded by the advisor and a second member of the department faculty at the end of the senior year.
Successful pursuit of an honors project requires a student to start discussions with members of the department honors committee and prospective faculty advisors during the junior year or earlier. To be eligible for the program, a student must be an IR or PSC major, and must meet the following requirements as of the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year:
- Have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, calculated using all IR and PSC courses plus any other courses the student plans to count toward the IR or PSC major;
- At least one course on techniques of analysis (PSC 200, 201, 203, 205, or ECO 230 or 231).
- A W course or another course that requires the student to write a research paper.
- If an IR major, two of the four core courses for the IR major.
- If a PSC major, PSC 202.
Have completed each of the following with a grade of C or better:
Students who meet these requirements must complete and submit the honors enrollment form to the honors coordinator (currently Professor Niemi) by the 7th day after classes begin in the fall semester of the senior year. Note that completion of the form requires the student to secure agreement from a faculty member to serve as his or her thesis advisor and approval of the Political Science Department's honors committee. Each member of the faculty needs considerable advanced notice to be able to serve as an advisor. Students should not expect to find a faculty advisor if they wait until the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year to look for one.
More detailed information about the program, including the standards the department applies in grading the senior thesis, can be found in "Expectations and Standards for Senior Theses".