Honors Program

Outstanding undergraduate students may apply in the spring of their Junior Year to participate in the Departmental Honors Program. The centerpiece of the program is the production of a Senior Honors Thesis. Students admitted to the program work on an original research project with an individual faculty advisor on a topic of their own choosing. The expectation is that the final product will be a research paper roughly 50 pages in length, to be completed by the end of the following winter quarter.

The following criteria are required to participate in the Political Science Honors Thesis Program:

  • Completion of at least 5 Upper Division Political Science courses with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Some accommodation will be made for Transfer Students who have not had time to complete 5 UD courses.
  • Completion of Political Science 191H with a grade of at least A-.
  • Some prior experience with writing substantial research papers.
  • Eligibility for College of Letters and Science honors (i.e., an overall UCLA GPA of at least 3.5). Information at http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/catalog/uclacatalog14-15-41g.htm).


PS191H is a prerequisite for the honors program, and will be offered each spring quarter. In 191H students will define their research topic, select a suitable research method, determine appropriate sources of information, prepare a research proposal, find a thesis director, begin their research, and submit progress reports or preliminary drafts. Class sessions emphasize critical and constructive discussions of students' topics, methods, and problems in research, as well as general consideration of political science research topics and methods of current or continuing interest.

One of the final requirements for PS191H will be the submission of a contract with a faculty advisor and a thesis topic. Applications for the Honors Program will be due on the Friday of Week 10 of the junior-year spring quarter.

The senior honors thesis program, then, will consist of PS 198 in fall and another PS 198 in winter, and the completed thesis is due at the end of winter quarter. PS 198 is a contract course with individual faculty advisors. The faculty advisor must be a member of the permanent faculty of the Department of Political Science or hold a joint/courtesy appointment with the Department of Political Science. The permanent faculty list is at the department website http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty or at the undergraduate counseling office in 4269 Bunche Hall.

  • In fall (PS 198), you will finalize the process of turning your research topic into a researchable question, determine appropriate sources of information, prepare a research proposal, set your research underway, and discuss progress reports or preliminary drafts to your advisor. It is recommended that student and advisor agree on a reading list for the summer before the Fall 198 course, so that the fall quarter can be used as effectively as possible.
  • During the winter quarter (PS 198), participants will complete their thesis under the supervision of their thesis advisor.
  • The cohort of thesis-writing students will also meet two or three times during the fall and winter quarters as a group with the Honors Program Director, to report progress and exchange ideas.