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.


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 Department of Political Science (650 Urban Center):

  • PSU and other college transcripts (unofficial transcripts will suffice).
  • 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


Political science honors students complete all of the coursework required for the standard major, but honors coursework must include the following:

Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Research Methods for Political Science
Honors Thesis



    Normally, 4 credits of PS 403 are taken each term of the student’s senior year. The Department 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 Kim Williams is the Chair of the Honors and Awards Committee.

    Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society

    Outstanding juniors and seniors who have declared a major in political science are eligible to join Nu Pi, the Portland State University Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. To be eligible to join, students must meet certain credit and GPA requirements. 

    Professor Joshua Eastin is the Pi Sigma Alpha Advisor.