Senior Thesis

The final deadline for 2022-2023 theses is May 19, 2023.

Senior Honors Thesis Candidate forms for the 2023-2024 academic year are due by October 20th, 2022. This form is located under the "Important Deadlines" header on the student life page for senior thesis information. The department-specific form is located in the sidebar on this page, and is due April 29th, 2023.


 

The Department of Political Science offers the Honors Thesis Program for qualified majors in their senior year. Each year, between five and ten Political Science Majors complete a senior thesis. 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. The requirements for eligibility for thesis honors in political science are: (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 April 29, 2023. Application forms are only available electronically. 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. For students unable to meet in person, most faculty have established virtual meeting options during their office hours. If they do not, please email them directly to find a meeting time. 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 four SHUs political science credit.

Students must also have two faculty readers for their thesis.

Completing Your Thesis

Accepted students must enroll in PS 198 for the Fall term. This seminar will be taught by Professor Oxana Shevel on Tuesdays, 1:30-4:00pm. Please direct questions about the thesis program and seminar to Professor Shevel during her office hours. 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.

Exceptional theses may be nominated for a Belfer award. For more information, see our Student Awards page detailing past recipients.

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 Archives:  2021-2022 | 2020-2021 | 2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018

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

For more information on the University's standards for theses, as well as resources, please reference the Student Life page on the Senior Honors Thesis.