Washington Semester Program
The University offers semester-long internship programs in cooperation with the American University in Washington, DC. These programs combine academic courses with internship placements in legislative, executive, and interest-group offices in the nation's capitol. Students sometimes do a Washington internship semester as an alternative to study abroad. The academic requirements for participation are the same as those for study abroad (i.e., a 3.2 GPA overall and in the major).
Students interested in the Washington Semester program should schedule an appointment with the Office of International Programs in Hovey House.
Undergraduate Research Fellowships Program
The Undergraduate Research Fellowships program enables students to gain firsthand experience in scholarly work by participating with a faculty member on a research project. Faculty members select students, and students receive a monetary award based on the scope and duration of the project. Students do not receive academic credit for these fellowships; their value lies in the close mentoring relationship students can form while working with a faculty member. All full-time undergraduates are eligible. Fellowships are available for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.
For more information on the program and application deadlines, consult the website for the University Fellowships Committee or inquire with faculty directly to express your interest in being involved in their research.
Scholar of the College Program
Scholar of the College is a special designation conferred at Commencement on seniors who have successfully completed particularly creative, scholarly, and ambitious Advanced Independent Research projects during their Senior year while maintaining an overall cumulative grade point average of A- or better.
The department of Political Science has established its own Honors program to encourage and reward high academic achievement among its majors. Admission to the program is highly selective and by invitation from the department. Each year 15-20 Political Science majors who have completed their Sophomore year are invited to join the Honors program. Selection is based primarily (but not exclusively) on their academic records within the major and overall. The Honors program seeks to provide additional opportunities for intellectual exchange and friendship, among students as well as with the faculty. The department hopes that the spirit of the Honors program will in turn extend to all our classes and our students.
The department offers special Honors Seminars on a variety of topics to members of the program. These are topics not ordinarily available in our course offerings, and they frequently focus on the special interests of faculty in important policy questions or intellectual puzzles. Members of the Honors program must take at least two Honors Seminars during their Junior and Senior years, in addition to the ten courses (30 credits) otherwise required for the major. Students seeking to complete the Honors program and graduate with Honors must, therefore, take at least 12 Political Science courses (36 credits) in all.
For further information on the Political Science Honors Program, contact Professor Michael Hartney.
One Honors seminar is given each semester. The seminars are scheduled a year in advance so that students can plan their programs, especially important for Honors students who will be studying abroad for one or two semesters. These seminars are considered electives in the major; therefore they do not exempt the student from the requirement of taking one course (three credits) in each of four sub-fields in Political Science. The intention of these seminars is to provide a setting in which students who have shown their lively and nimble engagement with politics can come together with others who share their enthusiasm for the enjoyment and rewards of shared scholarly exploration.
As a culmination of the Honors program, members may write an Honors Thesis during their senior year. An Honors Thesis is generally a two-semester project, for which students earn credit for two elective courses in the major (Honors Thesis I and II, designated in the catalog as POLI 4961 and POLI 4962).
Students considering writing a thesis and those currently doing so should reference this comprehensive guide to writing a senior thesis, written by BC graduate students in consultation with Political Science department faculty: How to Write a Senior Thesis
Students participating in the Honors program are eligible for one of three Honors designations when they graduate: Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors in Political Science. All members of the program who complete at least 12 courses in Political Science, including two Honors Seminars, are eligible to graduate with Honors, if they have sustained a record of academic excellence in the major. Members of the program who choose to write an Honors Thesis, and do so successfully, will be eligible to be considered for High or Highest Honors.
In addition, each year at the University's Awards Ceremony, the department presents its Donald S. Carlisle Award to the graduating Senior in the Honors program who has attained the highest distinction.
The department celebrates the success of its graduating Honors students with a special Honors dinner and program each Spring, featuring a guest speaker who is prominent in public service.