Honors & Awards
Writing a Senior Thesis can be a rewarding culmination to the Wellesley academic experience.
In the Political Science Department, the Honors Program involves the writing of a thesis. Each honors student works closely throughout a full academic year with the faculty member(s) best able to advise her on the topic of her thesis. Honor theses average around 70 pages in length, though this varies considerably depending on the subject matter and the methods. The deadline for juniors submitting an honors’ thesis proposal is the third Friday in April. All students will normally be expected to submit their proposals by this date. All seniors must submit their final honors’ thesis to the Registrar's Office. The thesis process and deadlines are listed on the Office of the Registrar Web page.
College legislation sets an eligibility requirement of a minimum 3.5 grade point average in work in the major above the 100-level. Students who fall slightly below this minimum requirement may petition the Department for an exemption from the GPA minimum. Exemptions are granted especially for strong proposals supported by a potential thesis advisor.
Proposals include an application form; a two- to three-page prospectus; a statement of your academic background in your topic; a preliminary bibliography; a transcript (official or unofficial); and a writing sample, preferably a research paper for a class. The research prospectus is the key component to the proposal. For hints on writing the prospectus, see the resources below.
You also need a signature from an advisor. If you have not yet consulted an advisor, you should do so immediately.
There are two sources of advising in the department. First and foremost, each student must choose a faculty advisor for her project. Junior political science majors who are interested in undertaking senior thesis research (360/370) should consult with a faculty member—ideally several faculty members—who might serve as advisors or with the department chair if help is needed in finding the appropriate faculty member to serve as an advisor. Students who are planning study away from Wellesley should discuss their thesis plans with an advisor during their sophomore years. It is best for international study students to complete applications in the spring while they are away.
There are also two general honors thesis advisors. The current advisors, Professors Hajj and Just, will hold an informational meeting for prospective honors' students. This will give a logistical overview (what's due, and when is it due) as well as a forum to prepare and write your proposal. If you cannot attend the meeting, contact the general honors thesis advisors.
First and foremost, you will need a topic that seriously interests you -- enough to carry you through a year of research and writing. You should develop an answerable research question that you can address in the time and space of a senior thesis.
There are different ways in which to prepare for the thesis:
- Course background matters. You should make sure you have the course background to write on the topic. Substantively, you need to take, if not exhaust, courses in your specific research area. You may also want to consider taking the political science research methods course, 199, to learn how to construct a research design. You should note that the department will evaluate your course background when we evaluate your course proposal.
- Researching "how to write a thesis." As a guide to writing the proposal, we have prepared a brief overview. You might also want to consult the following texts on research design and thesis writing:
- Charles Lipson, How to Write a BA Thesis: A Practical Guide from Your First Ideas to Your Finished Paper . Arco, 2003
- Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science . Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.
In February 2000 Wellesley inaugurated a chapter (Psi Alpha) of the national political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha. More information about the national society, which was founded in 1920, can be found at the Pi Sigma Alpha website .
Class of 2013 Political Science Honor Society Members
Class of 2012 Political Science Honor Society Members
Briana M. Calleros
Christine M. Choudri
Brianna G. Fitch
Senta M. Knuth
Lydia M. Krooss
Sarah P. Miller
Meagan M. Moody
Kelsey A. Pfleger
Michelle G. Rosin
Khahilia Y. Shaw
Rachel E. Smith
Grace N. Tien
Sarah E. Weinberg
Class of 2011 Political Science Honor Society Members
Joy A. Clarke
Hillary A. Fenton
Yaffa S. Fredrick
Taylor L. Miller
Aditi G. Patel
Jayni A. Shah
Diana R. Stroud
Sarah K. Turrin
Michaela S. Wilkes Klein
Class of 2010 Political Science Honor Society Members
Danielle Tiffany Odonna Brown
Monica Colunga Calderon
Erin Goyo Choi
Han Jenny Ding
Nora Johanna Keller
Betsy Lynn Raymond
Lily A. Saffer
Kathleen E. Scott
Diane C. Seol
Elizabeth Anne Shirey