Department of Politics

Standards of Evaluation and Progress

Defining the Standards


We recommend that an honors thesis must contain all of the following elements:
  • a survey and critique of the relevant scholarly literature
  • a concise and clearly stated research question
  • a statement of the logic of the research, a justification of the approach and a statement of the materials that will be used to answer the question (i.e., a statement of the method, if not "methodology")
  • coherently written chapters that address the research question
  • a conclusion that uses the research to answer the research question

High Honors

For high honors, the thesis must contain the elements above and must also show:

  • evidence of research beyond the secondary political science literature
  • theoretical sophistication

In essence, high honors are to be awarded to a thesis that offers something new to scholars with good knowledge of the secondary literature in the field.

Highest Honors

For highest honors, the thesis must meet the above requirements and in addition contain sufficient primary research and theoretical sophistication that, if rewritten and submitted to a peer-review journal would justify at least a "revise and resubmit" response. In short, highest honor should be given only to a thesis that could provide the foundation for publishable work. Finally, to receive highest honors, the oral defense of the thesis should also be very strong.

Threshold for Admission into the Honors Program

Maintain current requirement of a GPA in politics of at least 3.5, or permission of the honors director (NOT undergraduate advisor).

Calendar of Benchmarks

Each year the department will establish a set of deadlines for completion of each stage of the honors process. Continuation in the program will be contingent on students successfully meeting these deadlines.

Format and Style

Theses must conform to the style guidelines in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations, by Kate L. Turabian.