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Honors Program in Political Science

The Honors Program in Political Science is designed for our top students who seek out additional intellectual challenges, including research and writing an honors thesis during their senior year. It is distinct from the University Honors Program, but political science majors may be admitted to both programs.

Admission

Students should apply for admission to the program during the winter or spring quarter of their junior year. To be eligible for the honors program, a student must be a political science major and have earned at least a 3.2 grade point average overall and a 3.5 GPA in their political science coursework.

Interested students should submit the following to the Division of Political Science (650 Urban Center):

  • PSU and other college transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation from two PSU political science faculty
  • Statement of purpose (500 words or less) indicating your interest in the program, the area of research for your honors thesis, and the faculty member you would like to supervise your work

Requirements

To receive honors in political science, the student's satisfaction of the requirements for the major must include the following courses:

  • PS 493 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences (4 credits)
  • PS 495 - Research Methods for Political Science (4 credits)
  • PS 403 - Honors Thesis (12 credits)

Normally, 4 credits of PS 403 are taken each term of the student’s senior year. The Division recommends this timeline for the thesis project:

  • Fall term: preparation of research proposal and start of investigation
  • Winter term: continuation of research and first draft of thesis
  • Spring term: revision of thesis and defense

The student works closely with the faculty supervisor at all stages of thesis research and writing. At the start of Spring term, two additional faculty members are selected to join the supervisor as a thesis review committee. At the close of Spring term, the student presents and defends the thesis before the review committee and any others the student may wish to invite to the colloquium.

Professor Melody Valdini is the Honors Program Advisor