Honors Track

The Political Science Undergraduate Honors program allows talented and self-motivated students more opportunities for in-depth inquiry into the political. These opportunities include internships, independent research with close mentorship from a tenured faculty member, and taking graduate courses (with the approval of the instructor and the undergraduate chair).

Students wishing to pursue the Honors track in Political Science must apply and be accepted into the UHM Honors Program. They must complete all Honors Program requirements. These requirements differ depending on whether the student applies as a first- or second-year or upper-division Honors student. Students must also declare Political Science and complete all the requirements of the major. 


Because the major is designed with similar components to the Honors program, several of the courses are interchangeable. This will enable participants in the POLS Honors track to graduate with honors, without lengthening the time to completion of the BA degree. The POLS Honors track does not add significant additional credits to a regular POLS major's total load. However, this option adds depth and rigor, requiring more self-direction and commitment on the student's part. In return, the student also gets closer mentoring from both POLS and Honors faculty and advisors.

Freshmen and sophomores who are pursuing the "Selected Studies" Honors option for first- and second-year students, and who know early on that they are leaning toward a Political Science major, are strongly advised to take POLS 110A.

Juniors and Seniors who apply to and enter the Honors program for an Upper-Division Honors Designation (a BA in Political Science with Honors) must take the following courses:

  • Either HON 491 or POLS 406 seminar courses (3 credits) or, by petition through the Honors Program, a POLS graduate-level course or a POLS-focused study abroad experience.
  • Either HON 495 or POLS 390 research methods courses (3 credits). Students must complete a research proposal and present that proposal in a poster format at the end-of-semester forum sponsored by the UHM Honors Program.
  • HON 496 and/or POLS 404 (6 credits) thesis writing. Students are encouraged to use the Senior Thesis course, with the understanding that both the student and their thesis advisor submit progress reports to the Honors Program. Alternatively, the student can enroll in HON 496 and work with a POLS faculty member as their thesis advisor.

Honors Thesis

All POLS Honors students complete an honors thesis supervised by a primary advisor who must be a POLS faculty member (preferably a tenured faculty member) and a committee of two additional professors or instructors. The two additional committee members can be from other departments on campus. The committee guides the student regarding research and writing of the capstone project. Toward the end of the final semester of thesis writing, the whole committee meets with the student for a final consultation and conversation about the penultimate draft. The final conversation with the student’s committee can be an opportunity to practice and get feedback on presenting and defending their research. The student then makes any final revisions and submits a final draft to the Honors Program, with the committee’s recommendation about whether or not the capstone project has earned an Honors designation. The student must also present their completed project at the end-of-semester forum organized by the Honors program. 

All POLS Honors track students are required to meet with their thesis advisor every semester and with the Honors Program advisor to ensure that all requirements are met in a timely manner.