University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Political Science Honors

Students interested in pursuing departmental honors should seek out opportunities to work closely with faculty in small seminars and on research projects (like those offered through our Undergraduate Research Engagement Program). Plan to pursue special topics and independent research and complete your Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) requirements via Political Science honors coursework. 

Why Departmental Honors?

Departmental Honors in Political Science gives you:

  • The option to complete requirements of a CHC track within Political Science
  • Greater access to faculty in small seminars
  • Access to honors thesis research design and writing seminars
  • Access to Honors Thesis Seminars designed and conducted by faculty
  • The opportunity to compete for Departmental Thesis Prizes and Awards
  • Opportunities to conduct research and work closely with faculty

Honors Thesis Advising

To complete departmental honors in political science, students should begin planning early for their honors thesis or project. These videos and this guide will help students as early as their first year of studies—and as late as their thesis year—complete these requirements successfully.

  • Video 1: "Preparing for your Honors Thesis"
  • Video 2: "Understanding the Honors Thesis Process" 
  • Guide 1: "Completing a Successful Honors Thesis in Political Science"
  • Guide 2: "Thesis Defense Handout"
  • Guide 3: “Creating Independent Study Course"

Sample Independent Thesis Applications

To help students apply for independent thesis and project courses (499Y and 499T/P), we are pleased to provide sample applications from prior students. We thank these students for sharing their work.


Please visit the CHC website for the complete requirements and rules for Political Science Honors.

Department Prize for Honors Thesis and Project

The Department recognizes excellence with a prize for Honors theses and projects each year. Students whose work is so recognized share their work as examples for future classes of students working on their theses and projects.


For questions relating to Departmental Honors please contact the Honors Coordinator.