2023-2024 Catalog

Comprehensive Requirement

All politics majors must complete a Comprehensive Seminar in the spring of their senior year (preliminary preparation will occur in the fall semester of the senior year). In the seminar, students will read and discuss political science journal articles that raise interesting questions for the field, combine theory with empirical data, and serve as models for their own senior thesis. Each student will develop a senior thesis on a topic in one of the sub-fields of the major, demonstrating theoretical sophistication, an ability to find and evaluate sources of data, to develop and test hypotheses, and to argue a thesis. Each thesis is subjected to a rigorous drafting process that includes peer review and feedback from a faculty advisor. All seniors are required to submit a proposal for their thesis in the fall of their senior year. These proposals should state the research problem, demonstrate a significant command of the relevant bibliography, and include a tentative outline of major components in the study. Once the comprehensive project is submitted, the Politics faculty asses the papers, awarding them one of the following marks: Pass with Distinction (PD) is awarded to exceptionally sophisticated work that surpasses the departmental standards, Pass (P) is awarded to work that meets departmental standards, and Fail (F) for work that fails to satisfy departmental standards.