Second Year

Preparation for the Senior Thesis

Throughout the junior year Honors students should be thinking about ideas and questions that they would like to explore in depth for their senior thesis project. We encourage students to begin discussing and developing ideas for their thesis with faculty members throughout their Junior year. By the end of the Junior year, students should have selected a thesis supervisor and a research topic.

Writing Your Thesis

In Autumn quarter students register for Political Science 488 (five credits) while they conduct research for their thesis. In Winter quarter, students register for Pol S 589 (five credits) and write their thesis. By the end of the Winter quarter, the student must complete and defend their thesis. Although the appropriate length for a thesis depends on the topic, they are typically between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

Defending Your Thesis

After completing the thesis, the last step is defending it before your thesis adviser and a second faculty member. You will be asked to summarize your argument, to highlight your major points and contributions, and then asked to elaborate on, defend, and critique your thesis. The defense is graded pass/fail.

Organizing the Defense

First, in consultation with your thesis adviser, ask a Faculty member to be the second reader and to participate in your defense.

Second, notify Christina Kerr in the Advising Office of completion of the POL S 489 thesis and of the upcoming defense. Prior to the defense date Christina will prepare the paperwork for reporting grades, granting of Honors/Distinction at graduation and thesis evaluation and send these papers to faculty.

Third, provide copies of your thesis to your adviser and to the second reader and arrange a time and place for the defense. This should be done within the first three weeks of the Spring Quarter.