PSCI 499A/B Special Honours Essay

The Honours thesis is designed to focus on developing practical research skills through a more intensive investigation of a research question that interests you. Students will work with a faculty advisor to develop a research project, complete the research, and present their findings in the form of a traditional Honours thesis. This work is undertaken individually and cannot be a group project.

If you are thinking about graduate school, this is a great way to gain experience writing a longer piece of scholarship. Even if you do not want to pursue graduate studies, an Honours thesis could be your academic capstone, something to be proud of for years to come. When you apply for jobs prospective employers will be impressed to see that you have brought a research project to fruition.

Students with a PSCI average over 75% and above can enroll in PSCI 499A Special Honours Essay (0.5 credit) in Fall semester followed by PSCI 499 B Special Honours Essay (0.5 credit) in Winter semester. The numeric grade for PSCI 499A is submitted only after the completion of PSCI 499B. We recommend that students should pursue these courses in their fourth year.

** Due to restrictions and constraints imposed by COVID-19 we will not be offering PSCI 499 in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. Please speak to your PSCI Undergraduate Advisor to learn more about your options.**

PSCI 499 Enrollment Form (pdf)

Check out the research projects some of our students have been working on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a faculty advisor before enrolling in PSCI 499A?


When should I enroll in PSCI 499A?

We recommend that you enroll in PSCI 499A in the enrollment period prior to the Fall term of your fourth year or your 4A Fall term. This gives the Department time to review your academic record and to suggest potential faculty members who might be able to supervise you according to your subject matter of interest. Initiate the PSCI 499A enrollment form to seek departmental approval from the Undergraduate Associate Chair.

Can you describe what kind of final project is expected to earn credit in the research pathway?

PSCI 499B consists of writing an honours thesis, in consultation with your faculty advisor, with the final version submitted at the end of Winter term. The thesis will be approximately 40 pages long and will contain the components usually associated with a project of this sort, such as an introduction (setting out the research question under investigation), a literature review, a case study, and a conclusion.

Who will grade my final project?

The Honours thesis written in 499B is graded by the faculty advisor.

What is the value of writing an Honours thesis over completing some of the other final projects submitted in the engagement pathway?

An honours thesis allows you to pursue a research project of your choosing. You will gain expertise in this area and a well-chosen topic will situate you for further study at the Master’s level and beyond. Prospective employers will also appreciate seeing that you can craft your own research project and that you have enhanced, in-depth knowledge on that chosen academic topic. Methodological training is also provided – an indispensable skill for all future research endeavours.