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
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.