Eligibility. Students standing for honors in political science are expected to have a 3.50 GPA in political science and a 3.50 overall GPA. They are admitted into the program by the department, on the basis of grades and an oral examination on a seminar or major term paper, conducted by three members of the department during the spring of their junior year or early in the fall of their senior year. The oral exam tests the abilities of students for independent research and writing and explores the chosen topic for an honors thesis, expected to be 60-120 pages in length. Students register for PSCI 497-498: Senior Honors during their senior year and will be graded, tentatively in December and finally in May, by their advisors. Acceptance into senior honors includes a probationary period in the fall semester. Students accepted into the program are entitled to study carrels in the Olin Library. By the end of September during their senior year, students are expected to submit a formal proposal of their honors project to the department. Proposals should include a prospectus that describes the topic of the thesis, the argument or hypothesis of the thesis, and a chapter outline that explains how the topic will be addressed. A preliminary bibliography should be included in the proposal.
Timetable: The deadlines for various stages in the process of standing for department honors in political science are available from the department. These deadlines will be strictly enforced.
Advising: Students are expected to meet weekly with their primary advisor, with the exact times for regular consultation with both advisors to be worked out among you. Both or your advisors must be able to see and evaluate every aspect of your project, including all written work.
Fall Evaluations: Before the end of fall semester, you will meet with your two advisors who have read the work you have completed to that point. The purpose of this meeting will be to pass a collective judgment on your candidacy for departmental honors. At that time you will be informed about whether you will be permitted to continue in the program for second semester. If it is the collective judgment of the faculty committee that you not be permitted to continue, you will receive a grade for ½ unit of PSCI 497, based on all the work you have completed by the end of the semester. Students who are permitted to continue as an honors candidate into the second semester may still be requested to leave the program if the advisors judge that the quality of work handed in January so warrants.
Grades: Tentative grades for honors work will be assigned in December by your two advisors. Permanent grades, based on the final degree of honors, will be assigned at the end of spring semester by the two advisors: a B+(or lower) if no honors are awarded, an A- for Honors, an A for High Honors, an A+ for Highest Honors.
Research Seminar: You will be responsible for the presentation of an informal seminar to department faculty and any other students on your thesis research and findings. These seminars are open to any faculty and students who wish to attend. They will be scheduled in April.
Final Evaluation of Theses: All honors theses are read by an outside examiner, a political scientist from another college or university, who will come to Kenyon to examine you on your thesis, in an hour-long oral examination. In consultation with department members present at the examination, the outside examiner will decide if you are to receive honors and, if so, what degree of honors will be awarded: Highest Honors, High Honors, or Honors. The decision is made based on your oral exam and your thesis.
Thesis Format: The official style sheet for Kenyon College theses should be followed. As indicated there, your thesis requires you to include an abstract of your thesis, of less than one page. In it you should state your subject matter, your method of exploration and investigations, your main contentions, and your conclusions.
Expenses: You are responsible for all manuscript preparation costs (including any mailing costs beyond normal first-class mail) incurred in the preparation of the thesis. You should expect that the thesis will be sent to the outside examiner by email attachment. You will be responsible for handing in a completed copy of your honors thesis to the department and one to the Special Collections Librarian. The latter copy of your thesis will be cataloged and retained by the Olin Library. The department will retain the former copy. You should also convert one completed copy of your thesis to .pdf format and provide that electronic copy to both the Special Collections Librarian and the departmental administrative assistant.