Saint Louis University

Qualified and highly motivated students may complete an honors thesis in Political Science. Students can develop thesis topics from previous classwork or particular interests they have not had an opportunity to study in depth. The best theses usually rest on pre-existing expertise. Theses vary in length from about 30 to 60 pages and may employ a variety of research methods.

Students work closely with a faculty director and a committee that contains two other faculty members. The thesis director must be a Political Science faculty member, but the other members of the committee may be - and often have been - from other departments. The Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies and the faculty director will help with the formation of the committee, and the committee will help with the articulation of a research question.

This program involves a two course sequence: POLS 4990: Research Design and POLS 4991: Political Science Honors Thesis. POLS 4990 counts as one of the required 4000-level seminars; POLS 4991 is an additional course in the major, bringing total credits for major with an honors thesis to 37.

Students interested in writing an honors theses should consult with their department mentor, a faculty member appropriate to direct the thesis, or the department Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies by the spring of their junior year. Students interested in doing an Honors Thesis must have a Political Science GPA of 3.5 and an overall GPA of 3.4. 

Honors Thesis 2016

Baili Volluz

Public Opinion of Labor Unions in the United States

The purpose of Baili's research was to better understand why Americans form opinions on the subject of labor unions. There are two main schools of thought on the topic: rational choice and sociological factors. Baili adds sociological factors to a rational choice model, which creates a more nuanced understanding of opinion formation. Baili conducted regression analysis using time series dta and conducted interviews of people about their opinion of unions. She found that income, membership density, education, political party, occupation, change in gross domestic product, and union membership were significant in union opinion formation.

With support from the Political Science department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and our local branch of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, Baili was able to present her research at two international conferences: the Pi Sigma Alpha national student conference in Washington, DC, and the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting in Chicago, IL. Baili's research will be published in the Pi Sigma Alpha undergraduate journal.

This is a partial list of topics of recent honors theses completed by students in the Saint Louis University Political Science department.

  • Refugee Resettlement in St. Louis: The Social Impacts of Resettlement Through the Eyes of St. Louis' Local Non-Profit Organizations
  • The Impact of Identity Formation, Cultural, and Political Conditions on Open LGBT Representation in State Governments
  • The Influence of Gender and Issues on Electoral Behavior and Congressional Campaigns
  • Peace with Justice: The Political Development of the Catholic Church in Northern Ireland
  • South African Women's Organizations in the Transitional Period: Assessing the Value of Gender Mainstreaming
  • Peace and Justice: The International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia and Reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • The State of Liberal Democratic Parties and their Leaders in Contemporary Russia: A Case Study of the Union of Right Forces
  • Analyzing Changing Roles and Rights for Women in Morocco, Oman, and Saudi Arabia
  • Regionalism, Populism, and the Rise of Europe's New Right: A Case Study of Italy's Lega Nord
  • The Flexibility and Success of Tailoring Coercive Diplomacy Strategies to Construct for Motivational Asymmetries
  • Chechnya's Path to Violent Conflict
  • Caste Mobilization in Uttar Pradesh vs. Andhra Pradesh: Sources, Successes, and Failures
  • Pathologies of Politics: Deliberative Democracy and Celebrity Culture over Two Centuries of American Campaigning
  • Rape as a Weapon of War in Bosnia and Darfur
  • Protocol No. 11 and the European Convention on Human Rights: Success or Failure?
  • Hyperpresidentialism: Why it Occurs
  • Public Support for the Irish Republican Army before and after the Good Friday Agreement: A Case Study
  • The French Student Movement of 1968: Tactics and Demands
  • The Energy Policy Act of 2005
  • A Comparison of Two Cases of Political Action by Transnational Advocacy Groups
  • The Political Consequences of Economic Reforms: Explaining the Victories and Defeats of Communist Successor Parties
  • Consumer Counterculture: A Gramscian Analysis of the Career of Ralph Nader
  • A State of Discontent: Milosevic's Manipulation of the Serbian People and the Seeds of Revolutionary Change
  • Leftist Political Parties and Popular Civil Society in El Salvador and Guatemala
  • Italian Distrust of Government: Regionalism and Corruption
  • Opportunities of Political Decision-Making: An Analysis of the Collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and its Aftermath