Undergraduate Program

Senior Thesis

The Department of Political Science offers the Honors Thesis Program for qualified majors in their senior year. Seniors work closely with a small committee of faculty members on a well-defined research project throughout the academic year. All senior thesis students will meet weekly in a seminar (PS 198) to explore research and methodological issues in political science and also to critique and improve each other's written work. Under the rules of the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College, the requirements for thesis honors in political science are as follows: (a) Appearance on the Dean's List for at least two semesters; (b) Acceptance into the Department's Honors Thesis Program by the end of their junior year.

If you are a junior majoring in political science and wish to write an honors thesis, you must submit an application by late April. Application forms will be available in the Political Science Department and here. Students who are away from the Medford campus during the second term of the junior year should take steps to submit their applications on time. The application to write a thesis must include:

  • A written prospectus of no more than 5 double-spaced pages. This prospectus must:
    • clearly define the research question(s) that the thesis aims to answer;
    • explain the theoretical and, where relevant, policy importance of the thesis;
    • outline the plan of research (e.g., primary and secondary sources, press reports, interviews, data sources, etc.);
    • briefly summarize the research methodologies to be employed;
    • briefly review the two or three major scholarly works that address the research question(s);
    • include a list of your prior coursework that is relevant to the proposed thesis;
  • An unofficial transcript;
  • The name of the political science faculty member who has agreed to serve as the principal faculty advisor for the proposed thesis.


Faculty Advisor

Before submitting your application, you must consult with this faculty member. If you are on campus, you should do this during office hours; if you are abroad, please send an email. You are advised to choose a faculty member who is familiar with the proposed thesis and who can evaluate your academic background.

Students admitted to the Honors Thesis Program will enroll in PS198 and PS199 in the fall and spring semesters respectively. At the end of the fall term, the student must schedule a meeting of the committee to report on her or his progress and present at least one chapter of the thesis. If the committee determines at this meeting that insufficient progress has been made on the thesis, the thesis project will be terminated. In this case the student will receive one political science credit (for independent study) and a letter grade.


Completing Your Thesis

The completed thesis must be submitted no later than the first week of April of the senior year. In order to complete the program, honors thesis students must successfully pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis. The examination will be conducted by the student's thesis committee.

NOTE: During Fall 2018, PS 198 (Senior Thesis Seminar) will be taught by Professor Eichenberg on Thursday afternoons in the seminar block ("3", Thursdays 1:30-4:00pm). All thesis writers in Political Science must enroll in seminar PS 198.

Professor Richard Eichenberg's office hours: Tuesdays 3:30-4:30pm and Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm


Senior Honors Thesis Research

The following senior theses were written under the guidance of faculty members in the Department of Political Science.

Senior Theses Abstracts: 2016-2017
Archives: 2015-2016 | 2014-2015 | 2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011

Full text of undergraduate honors theses in Political Science can be viewed at the Tufts Digital Library website.