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POL S 488 A: Honors Thesis Design

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
SAV 140
Susan Whiting
Susan H. Whiting

Syllabus Description:

The full course syllabus is here:

Course Description

   This course provides you with the building blocks to construct a successful honors thesis. The topics and assigned readings provide guidelines and examples for each element of your project. In parallel with each topic, you will be reading and researching your own sources that apply to your thesis project. By the end of Autumn Quarter, you will, step by step, have produced a complete research design and will have begun the research and writing process for your thesis. During Winter Quarter, you will complete and defend your honors thesis.

   Building a community to support your research and writing is important. Your honors cohort, this class, and the faculty and students of this department are all part of your research and writing community.

   Research and writing is a daily practice. Attaining excellence in research is no different than attaining excellence in piano, ballet, basketball, or soccer. Work on an element of your project every day. In addition to assigned readings, plan to dedicate at minimum 30 minutes to one hour each day, at least five days a week, to your thesis project. Some days will include many hours of intensive work, but that is no substitute for your daily practice.


Course Requirements

Weekly thesis assignments (40%)

   You will complete weekly thesis assignments every week for the first eight weeks of the quarter; assignments are to be submitted via Canvas by 5pm the night before Wednesday’s class. (5% each).


Workshop presentations and participation (30%) 

   You will present your assignment for a class workshop once during the quarter as noted in the Course Schedule (10%), comment on presentations throughout the quarter (5%), present your full research design to the class at the end of the quarter (10%), and discuss assigned material throughout the quarter (5%).


Complete research design (30%)

   You will submit a complete written research design via Canvas on Wednesday, November 30th


Honors thesis contract and grading

   Your signed honors thesis contract with adviser and second reader due via Canvas by November 8th.

   I will send the grade you receive in this course to your thesis adviser to be incorporated into your final, two-quarter thesis grade. Your grade for Autumn Quarter will initially appear as an ‘N.’ At the end of Winter Quarter, it will be updated with your final thesis grade.

   Deadline extensions are permitted in emergencies or extenuating circumstances with permission of the professor. Also, make sure you are familiar with the norms of academic honesty.


Course Materials

   We will read one outstanding research monograph in the field of political science that exemplifies strong research design and methodology, several honors theses from past cohorts, and short selections from texts on research design and methodology.

   All materials are available through Canvas or full-text online via UW Libraries E-Journals and E-books. The book, Prerna Singh’s How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is also available for purchase at the UW Bookstore and through other online vendors.


Additional Course Information

Diversity Statement

  The Department of Political Science recognizes and affirms the University of Washington’s mission to “value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promote access, opportunity and justice for all.” We expect every member of this community to contribute toward cultivating an inclusive and respectful culture throughout our classrooms, work environments, and campus events.


Disability Resources

   If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students). If you have a letter from DRS indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so that we can discuss the accommodations you may need for class.


Religious Accommodation

   Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy.   


Academic Integrity

   Students at the University of Washington (UW) are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic conduct, professional honesty, and personal integrity. Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are violations of the University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-120). 


Covid Information

   We will follow UW guidance for classes. FAQs about COVID-19 and UW Policy can be found here.


Catalog Description: 
Instruction in Honors Thesis research design and methods. Required for Political Science Honors. Offered: A.
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Other Requirements Met: 
Honors Course
Last updated: 
May 4, 2022 - 10:04pm