Department Honors in political science are awarded to graduating majors who have achieved an average of 3.5 in political science courses and who have successfully completed a significant research project in the senior year. The research project will be undertaken in a senior capstone course in political science and it will culminate in an honors thesis that will be presented in the spring of the senior year. Capstone seminars will represent four sub-fields of the discipline: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory and they will be offered each academic year.
In the second semester of their junior year, eligible students will receive a letter from the political science department inviting them to participate in the honors program. Students who accept this invitation are responsible for communicating acceptance to the department during the second semester of their junior year. Because the research project is undertaken as part of the senior capstone seminar, students interested in pursuing Honors must develop a research project that is associated with a senior capstone seminar. Before leaving campus in the final semester of the junior year, students must present a research project proposal to the faculty member in charge of the capstone seminar in which he or she will enroll. The faculty member's acceptance of the proposal also serves as the student's acceptance into the Honors program, and the faculty member becomes the student's thesis director. Honors candidates will be afforded a pre-pre-registration process to assure placement in the appropriate capstone seminar.
Acceptance into the honors program is based on the candidate's academic record as well as acceptance of the honors proposal. Students with a 3.5 major average will be invited to participate; those who accept do so with the understanding that they will complete their senior year with at least a 3.5 average in order to remain eligible for honors.
Guidelines for Honors Proposals
The specific content and length of the proposal will be determined in consultation with the faculty director; however, all proposals should include the following:
1. A preliminary title.
2. An introduction. This will be a concise statement of the subject to be explored and the objectives of the study, including basic issues, questions or problems to be addressed in the study.
3. A discussion of the significance of the project. This part should indicate why the study is of importance in terms of the current state of research in a subfield of political science.
4. A description of the methodology to be used, i.e., the plan for accomplishing the objectives of the project.
For most quantitative empirical studies, this part will include the research design appropriate for testing the hypotheses that guide the study, as well as the model to be tested; in addition, sources of data should be identified and relevant statistical tests which might be applied to the data explained. If a survey is involved, problems of survey design should be addressed and some of the key questions to be asked should be listed.
For normative studies, the philosophical or ideological context should be discussed, as well as the methodological perspectives of any subject(s) of the study.
For historical or descriptive studies, the kinds and sources of information and the method of analysis should be described.
5. A selected bibliography which is focused on the most relevant sources available for the project.
6. A title page which follows the model provided on the following page.
The director will give the original signed proposal to the department secretary who will place the original on file in the department. Students should retain a copy for themselves.
The Completed Thesis and Poster Presentation
Students engaged in Honors projects in capstone seminars offered in the fall semester must submit the final draft by November 15. Students enrolled in spring semester capstone courses must submit their final draft by April 15. Prior to those dates, the director will evaluate the work and the thesis will be returned to the student for any required revisions. Upon the completion of the final draft, the director will sign the title page of the completed thesis, and Honors will be based on his or her acceptance.
All Honors theses shall be presented as posters in a poster session toward the end of the spring semester. Following the presentation, the candidate is certified for honors in political science to the Registrar of the College, a distinction noted at graduation and printed on each student's transcript.
MODEL TITLE PAGE
(TITLE OF HONORS PROPOSAL IN CAPITALS)
(Name of Student)
A Proposal Submitted
for Honors in Political Science
Honors Project Director