· Who Is Eligible?
As noted in the section on major requirements, eligible political science majors may be admitted to our departmental honors program. Briefly, to be considered for honors a student must:
- Be a junior or senior major in Political Science;
- Meet the general College Honors requirements of having an overall grade point average of at least 3.20;
- Have made a 3.50 grade point average in at least four political science courses taken at Davidson College ;
- Furnish convincing evidence of a special interest in and capacity for research.
Once admitted to the program, to earn honors a student must:
- Complete an honors thesis under the supervision of a faculty member of the department;
- Successfully complete an oral defense of the thesis before a panel of at least three members of the department;
- Maintain a 3.50 grade point average in political science courses;
- Maintain a 3.20 overall grade point average .
· When Should I Start Thinking About Honors?
Ideally, a political science major who meets the initial eligibility requirements should begin talking with professors in the department about honors work early in the junior year. The student should begin thinking about courses that might be especially relevant for an honors thesis. These early conversations can be helpful in identifying relevant literature with which students should be familiar before undertaking their own research.
An important part of this early stage is the identification of a professor in the department who would supervise the writing of the thesis. Students should inquire about a professor's knowledge of and interest in a particular topic and availability for thesis advising. Students applying to enter the Honors Program will be expected to secure the consent of a faculty supervisor before making formal application to the department.
· How (And When) Do I Apply For The Honors Program?
To formally apply for the Honors Program, a student must submit a letter to the Chair of the department stating that he or she is aware of and meets the eligibility requirements for the Program. The letter must also identify the faculty supervisor. Most importantly, the letter (sent by email) should discuss generally the topic of the thesis, including specification of relevant literature and identification of questions to be addressed in the thesis. The letter of application can be sent as early as the spring semester of the junior year, but no later than September 10 of the fall semester of the senior year.
The letter of application will be circulated among all members of the department, comments invited, and a preliminary decision will be reached by the department about entrance into the Honors Program. An application may be accepted with little or no suggested revision, although more often the department may request that the application be revised and resubmitted. On some occasions, the department may deny admission into the Honors Program.
In any event, students are notified of the status of the application approximately two weeks after its submission.
· What Is The Relationship Between An Honors Thesis and the Major Paper Requirement?
All majors are expected to complete a major paper of at least 20 pages with a grade of C or better. Usually, this requirement will be fulfilled in the context of a seminar. However, an honors thesis may substitute for that requirement in terms of the major. That substitution in no way relieves the students of writing another major paper should the seminar require it.
· Is There An Honors Thesis Timetable?
Late August: Information session for seniors considering applying to the Honors Program. Students planning to graduate in December should consult an advisor and the chair no later than January of the preceding semester. Students should arrange to take an independent study or tutorial the fall semester with their major advisor .
September 10: Deadline for application to Honors Program.
October 1: Deadline for notification to all applicants about admission to Honors Program. Begin regular meetings with thesis supervisor.
November: Thesis committees assigned.
January: Begin regular consultation with all three committee members, including submission of drafts of chapters as they are written. Students should register for Honors – POL 498.
April 15: Honors Thesis turned in to chair of the committee.
On or before reading day: Oral defense before faculty committee.
Students should be aware that the designation of honors will come only after a successful defense in which the committee is convinced that the student has done A level work. Those who write a thesis that the committee feels does not meet these standards will be assigned the appropriate grade in a course for advanced independent study – POL 495.
To get an idea of the scope and nature of an honors thesis, interested students should stop by the office of the College Archivist (Room 207 of Little Library) and ask to browse through the substantial collection of political science theses. The complete collection is as follows (thesis supervisors' names in parentheses):
"Approaching Northern Ireland: Resolution or Settlement," by Amy C. Oakes (Menkhaus)
"The Impact of Sex Role Socialization on the Political Integration of Women," by Lynne Shore (Thornberry)
"Islam and Revolutionary Theory: Economic Aspects," by Jacob A.P. Darling (Menkhaus)
"Political Violence in the Horn of Africa," by Charles Stormont (Menkhaus & Kazee) 1996-1997
"Community Power and School Assignment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg," by Rebekah Peebles (Kazee)
"Can the Faithful be Faithful?: Religious Belief in Liberal Society," by Sarah Terry (Shaw)
"The Effects of Personality and Ideology: Cold War Policy During the Carter and Reagan Years," by Tara Smith (Kazee) 1995-1996
"A Case Study of Kazakstan: Between the Past and the Future," by Eric Collings (Ortmayer)
"Immigration and Public Health: Haitians and the Ban on HIV-Positive Immigrants," by Hedy Moolenaar (Thornberry)
"Threatened Democracy: The Impact of the Christian Coalition on Local Politics," by Susan Elizabeth Pharr (Kazee/Roberts)
"'Getting It': Congress and Women's Issues in the Wake of the Hill-Thomas Hearings," by Katie McKelvie (Kazee)
"The Effects of American Versus British Influence on East Asian Democracies," by Churchill Hooff (Rigger) 1994-1995
"Senate Voting Behavior on Supreme Court Nominees," by Mark Reilly (Thornberry)
"Reconciliation of the Two Congresses," by Chad Lloyd (Thornberry)
"Self-Determination in the Post-Cold War Era: A Study of American Policy," by Danny Newman (Ortmayer)
"Mississippi Learning: Analyzing Gubernatorial Effectiveness in Mississippi," by Gautam Srinivasan (Kazee) 1993-1994
"Women's Political Participation in Latin America," by Julie Petty (Ortmayer)
"Balancing the Virtues and Dangers of American Princes: The Nature of Executive Power in American Government," by Jason Bertsch (Ahrensdorf/Kazee)
"Causes of Instability in Ex-Soviet Central Asia," by Kate Crosman (Ortmayer)
"Davidson Students' Attitudes Toward Feminism," by Sally Stone (Kazee)
"So You Say You Want a Revolution? Don't Count On It! A Study of the Role of Revolt and Revolution in the 1960s," by Myles Louria (Shaw) 1992-1993
"Bosnia: A Case Study on U.S. Intervention Policy in the Post-Cold War Era," by Joanna Flinn (Ortmayer)
"Central American Revolution," by Harriette Lopp (Shaw)
"The Impact of Islamic Fundamentalism on the Status of Women: A Comparative Study of Iran and Egypt," by Debolina Mukherjee (Menkhaus)
"The Perception of Arabs in the American Mind," by Laura Malenas (Menkhaus/Kazee) 1991-1992
"Jesse Helms and North Carolina Politics: Why North Carolina Voters Say 'Yes' to 'Senator No,'" by Jennifer McGrady (Kazee)
"Hungary and the European Community: Prospects for Membership," by Caroline Williamson (Menkhaus)
"Refusing to Become the European Promised Land: German Immigration Policy in the 1990s," Julianna Lindsey (Menkhaus)
"Teaching Apathy or Awareness?: The Role of the School in Political Socialization," by Beth Brown (Kazee)
"Our Political Court: Wreaking Havoc on the Environment," by John A. Earles (Thornberry)
"The Cultural Theory of Representation," by Kristi Mitchem (Kazee) 1990-1991
"The United Nations after the Cold War," by Daniel N. Hylton (Proctor)
"Religion in the United States Congress: The Forgotten Factor in the Voting Equation," by Peter Bynum (Kazee)
"The Uno Acto Transition in the Former GDR: From Central Planning to the Market," by Shawn K. Murphy (Ortmayer) 1989-1990
"A Case Study of the Economic and Political Impact of the Lome Convention and the Caribbean Basin Initiative on Jamaica," by D. J. Snell, Jr. (Ortmayer) 1988-1989
"Poland: Grim Prospects," by Drew G. Peel (Ortmayer) 1987-1988
"The Right to Privacy is a Privilege and Immunity of Citizens of the United States," by Annemarie Belanger (Thornberry) 1986-1987
"The Proper Role for Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy," by Mary Chapman (Ortmayer) 1985-1986
"On Plato's Theories of Education," by William B. Naso (Shaw)
"Resolving the Paradox in Britain: Parliamentary Parties and Political Socialization," by Ian Dunn (Proctor)
"The Gingles Story: Voting Rights in North Carolina," by Melissa Jones (Kazee)
"The Effectiveness of Negative Advertising: A Consonant or Dissonant Melody," by Patrick J. Sellers (Kazee) 1984-1985
"A Sense of Belonging: The Impact of the Neighborhood on Political Attitudes," Mark W. Batten (Kazee)
"Equality of Opportunity: An Ineffective Social Welfare Theory," by Kathryn J. Clark (Shaw)
"Luis Echevierria and the Decline of Populism," by Chris Blake (Ortmayer) 1981-1982
"Plumbing the Depths: the International Seabed Authority and the NIEO," by Michael D. Kehs (Ortmayer)
"The Politics of a Health Issue: The Infant Formula Controversy in the U.S.," by Elizabeth J. Thomas (Proctor) 1979-1980
"The Peculiar Nature of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Its Effects on the Black Community Therein," by Andy Rosen (Retzer) 1974-1975
"Attaching Causation to Political Events: The Political Attributes of the Citizen in a Democracy," by Randolph G. Wagner (Proctor)