Bachelor of Arts - Honors Degree in Political Science

Why Take Honors?

Our Honors Program is appealing in several important ways:

Participation requires that students maintain a high level of academic performance (grades of 3.3/B+ or higher).  

That academic performance gets recognized: Graduating with Honors or First Class Honors is reflected on your degree; POL S Honors students are especially competitive for a range of continuing and graduating awards and scholarships, and for funded research and study abroad opportunities; and some honors essays produce academic publications or conference presentations.  

In Honors, students are provided an opportunity for greater specialization in POL S than is provided by the BA program.  Students in Combined Honors will take somewhat fewer POL S courses, but must also fulfill the requirements in the other discipline – in Social Sciences, Humanities, or Fine Arts.

Honors cohorts complete two unique courses:  

  • POL S 399 covers research design and research methods, and you’ll identify a supervisor for your Honors project.  
  • This prepares you for POL S 499, the full-year course in which you work intensively with the course instructor, your supervisor(s), and your colleagues to research and write an original honors essay on a topic that interests you. (Combined Honors students often need to register in INT D 521, but it’s the same course as POL S 499).  

And as POL S 499 wraps up, the Department hosts a conference that allows you to present research findings to other honors students, your supervisors, and POL S graduate students.  Families and friends are invited!

Minors and Certificates

In the BA Honors program, you may pursue a minor/minors (and certificates), but you are not required to do so. 

Rarely, students choose to pursue Double Honors – two different BA Honors degrees – in POL S and another Arts discipline.

Note:  Students are not permitted to pursue a BA Honors degree in one discipline along with a BA degree in another discipline.

When Should You Apply to Honors?

There are various routes to apply to do an Honors degree in Political Science:

  1. High school students may, upon application, be accepted directly into the BA Honors Foundation Year.  The choice of POL S occurs during that first year, with admission depending on meeting the requirements.  
  2. Students who are already in a degree program are encouraged to apply for Honors in their first or second year, by MARCH 1.  Once you are in the BA Honors/Combined Honors program in POL S you are automatically able to be registered in POL S 399 and POL S 499/INT D 520.  
  3. Non-Honors students may be permitted by the Department (the Undergraduate Chair) to enroll in POL S 399, only if they have Honors-level grades and a stated intention to apply to the POL S Honors program prior to the MARCH 1 deadline.  Be aware that completion of POL S 399 does not guarantee admission to the BA Honors program.  

What Courses Should I Take?

For all students in the POL S Honors program or intending to apply for it, it is important to take POL S 101 (Introduction to Politics) and at least two (of the six) 200-level POL S course requirements in Year 1.  POL S 101 is the prerequisite for most 200-level POL S courses, which are the prerequisites for 300- and 400-level courses.   

Be sure consult the Political Science Undergraduate Chair and Honors Advisor about course selection if: 

  • you are in the BA Honors Foundation Year and intend to choose Political Science;
  • you are applying for Honors in your third year (or later), 
  • you have been admitted to the Honors After Degree program, or
  • you are transferring or changing into the BA Honors program. 

How Do I Apply?

Applications to the Honors program are done through the University’s Undergraduate Admissions page

Typically, applications open on OCTOBER 1 and close on MARCH 1, for the following Calendar year, but be sure to confirm those dates have not been extended.  

Consult the Calendar for the details of admission, promotion, and graduation requirements.

For assistance contact:

Nancy Thompson
Undergraduate Advisor


Honors Thesis Library