The Honors Process

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

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 10% in Politics GPA may be invited to develop an honors-eligible thesis in late Winter semester of junior year. The invite is based on 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 a copy of a 6-8pp research proposal (about 1500 words) with a bibliography of no less than 15 peer-reviewed sources to their advisor by 5pm on Monday, September 13, 2021.  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 September 20, 2021 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 you want to pursue honors, the department requires you to submit a first draft of a literature review chapter and an outline for the rest of the thesis, which should discuss question, evidence gathering, and proposed method of analysis, to the full department faculty by Monday, October 25, 2021.. The department will develop a workshop or other format for presentation and evaluation to take place during the week of November 1, 2021. Students should be prepared to discuss these materials with multiple members of the department on a day between Monday, November 1, 2021 and Friday, November 5, 2021. Based on that presentation and your answers to department faculty questions about your work thus far completed, the politics faculty will nominate you for honors consideration. Candidates who move forward in the process are formally nominated to the College Honors Committee.
  • Students who are not nominated for honors consideration can continue their thesis as a non-honors one-semester project, with the deadline for completion being 4 PM on last Friday of classes of the Fall semester
  • After turning in the thesis, candidates will defend their 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.