The Honors Process

An honors thesis is a substantial piece of scholarship contributing to an existing literature in the study of politics.

Honors theses are kept in the Muskie Archives for other scholars to consult, and in some cases the work students do becomes a launching pad for graduate studies.  Students may enter the process by invitation only, as discussed below.  Be aware, however, that non-honors theses are just as eligible for prizes and other recognition by the Department and College as honors theses.

Further details about the Bates College Honors Program may be found on the Honors Committee website.

The department’s honors program for Politics majors is as follows:

  • The top 20% in Politics GPA may be invited to do honors late Winter semester of junior year using grades through Fall of junior year together with information from instructors on Winter courses to that point.  A faculty member must also be willing to work with the student for the invitation to be made.  Only those invited may do honors.
  • All invitees who decide to begin the honors process must enroll in 457 in the Fall of senior year.  They must also have found and contacted an advisor prior to the start of the Fall semester.
  • All invitees who decide to begin the honors process must submit nine copies of a 6-8pp research proposal to the Department by 5pm on September 27th, 2013.  Failure to submit a proposal by then will mean that the student has opted for a one-semester, non-honors thesis.
  • The Department will review your proposal by October 7th, 2013 to determine if the extra semester is necessary and beneficial for the completion of the project. If the Department decides that your proposal does not meet the above criteria, you will continue with a one-semester fall thesis.
  • If you remain eligible for a two-semester senior thesis, and want to pursue honors, we expect you to submit two thesis chapters by December 6th, the last day of classes. The content of these chapters will be decided upon by the student and the advisor.
  • During the first week of Winter semester, all honors theses candidates present their projects to the Department. Presentations are brief and the Department will ask questions of the candidates.
  • Based on the chapters submitted and the presentations, the Department votes whether they will formally become honors candidates.  Those not continuing in the honors program will complete a two-semester, non-honors thesis by the Winter thesis deadline.
  • Candidates who move forward in the process are formally nominated to the College Honors Committee.
  • After turning in the thesis, the candidate will defend his or her thesis in front of a panel of examiners.  The panel consists of a member of the Politics Department (not your advisor), a non-departmental Bates faculty member, and a scholar from another institution.  You may consult with your advisor on the selection of honors examination panel members.
  • The thesis is graded by your advisor, but honors is granted by the examination committee.