In the spring of their junior year, majors take Seminar on Research and Methodology, an intensive course in which they learn how to research, organize, document, write and orally present and defend a major piece of original work. Students choose topics according to their unique interests and potential career goals.
In the fall of their senior year, majors apply the skills acquired as juniors by researching and writing a more extensive and professional thesis, again on a topic of particular interest. Students receive intensive, individual mentoring throughout the entire semester by working with a professor whose expertise includes their topic. In the spring of their senior year, majors prepare and then publicly present and defend their senior research.
The Department of Political Science is the only department to require both a junior and a senior thesis with formal presentations and defenses. Upon completing this rigorous curriculum, students are adept at critical thinking, research, writing, public speaking and logical and persuasive organization of arguments - skills that are vital for success in a variety of careers.
Recent junior theses:
- "The Military Commissions Act of 2009: Securing Justice for America"
- "Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore's Lawsuit: Taking Tobacco Out of Politics"
- "Electing the United States President: The Electoral College"
- "The Kashmir Insurgency: Fueled by Pakistan's ISI"
- "The Hijab in France: Using Laicite to Pull the Veil Over Social Tensions"
- "Weak Leadership: Jimmy Carter's Response to the Iranian Revolution and Hostage Crisis"
- "United States Cyber Security: Why Prior Measures Have Failed and a Newly Rebooted Policy is Capable of Providing Safety"
- "The Cloward-Piven Strategy: Welfare Rights, Manufactured Crisis, and the Transformation of America"
- "Sex Scandals: The Media's Obsession with Sex and Politics in Post-Modern America"
- "El Partido Nacionalista Vasco vs. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA): Who Represents the Basque Nation?"
Recent senior theses:
- "The State in Disarray: U.S. Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Iraq"
- "Hizb'allah: From Militia to Terrorist Group to the Political Voice of the Shi'ites in Lebanon"
- "Public Funding of Faith-Based Organizations: The Constitutionality of Faith in the American Fabric"
- "Special Education Reform: The Superiority of the Massachusetts Model"
- "Hugo Chavez: Socialism and Dictatorship"
- "United States Drug Policy: An Addiction to Failure"
- "Egypt and the Islamic Revival: A Government in Crisis"
- "Putting Freedom on the Offensive: The Cold War Policies of President Ronald Reagan"
- "Nation-Building in Afghanistan: A Fallacy of Terms"
- "Friends of the Enemy: The ISI's Thirty Year Relationship with the Taliban"
- "Political Oppression and Humanitarian Catastrophe in Burma: The Status of the Karen National Union"