The Pardee School Honors Program is a two-semester, independent research project that culminates in a thesis paper and oral defense. The research is conducted during a student’s senior year, under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Please note that adjunct professors cannot be faculty advisors or panelists for the Honors Program. The Honors thesis is a significant piece of academic writing that may ultimately be used for publication, employment purposes, or post-baccalaureate applications.
Successful students graduate with Honors from the Pardee School, the highest level of academic achievement for undergraduates.
Effective Fall 2021 IR 401 and IR 402 are approved for BU Hub credits. IR 401 fulfills a single unit in Writing-Intensive Course, Critical Thinking, and Research and Information Literacy. IR 402 fulfills a single unit in Oral and/or Signed Communication and Writing-Intensive Course.
Effective Fall 2021, ALL students writing an honor’s thesis must be on campus both semesters.
Students in any Pardee School major may participate in the program. Eligibility for the Pardee School Honors Program is based on GPA. The Pardee School Honors Program requires a 3.50 cumulative and 3.60 major grade point average, at the time of application. International Relations (IR) majors may exclude their grades in EC101 and EC102 when calculating their major GPA.
In addition to the thesis paper and oral defense, participating students engage in co-curricular activities to reinforce their project. The co-curricular activities are intended to expand the student’s understanding of their research topic and should be planned in consultation with the thesis advisor. Examples could include: volunteering/service work, an internship during the academic year, leadership of a relevant student organization, travel or cultural immersion, etc.
Throughout the academic year, the Pardee School Office of Student Services will organize seminars as a part of IR 401/IR 402. These seminars are mandatory for students to attend and are designed to support students’ efforts to complete the Honors program. Past seminars have focused on topics such as: how to formulate research questions, how to write a lengthy research paper, and how to prepare for the oral defense.
Students apply to the Honors Program during the spring semester of their junior year. Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are due on June 1, 2023.
To apply, students must complete the online application form which includes:
- Personal and academic information, including a tentative title for your thesis.
- Upload a copy of an unofficial BU transcript (as a .jpg, .pdf, or .doc).
- Upload a project proposal (as a .doc or .pdf).
- Upload a preliminary bibliography (as a .doc or .pdf).
- A brief description of your co-curricular activities.
- Name and contact information of the professor who will be the Honors thesis advisor.
In preparation for applying, students should:
- Consider your research interests.
- Meet with various Pardee School faculty to discuss and refine your research interests.
- Ask a faculty member to be your thesis advisor. Thesis advisors may be any faculty member affiliated with the College of Arts & Sciences though students are encouraged to seek an advisor from within the Pardee School.
- Ask the thesis advisor to submit an Honors Program recommendation form. Email them the link to the form (see below).
- Draft a written project proposal that describes your research topic, its significance for the academic field, your initial plans for your research approach/methods, and an explanation for how this project fits with your personal academic and professional goals.
- Compile a preliminary bibliography of sources (preferably 10-20).
- Develop a list of co-curricular activities that you could pursue that would help expand your knowledge of your research topic.
- Before submitting your application, send your project proposal, preliminary bibliography, and list of co-curricular activities to your thesis advisor for their review and suggestions.
- It is encouraged that students attend an Honors Thesis Information Session in the Spring semester.
Applications for the 2023-2024 Pardee School Honors Program are due by 5 p.m. on June 1, 2023
The oral defense takes place in April of the senior year, before a panel of three professors. The panel will consider both the thesis and the result of the oral examination to determine whether the student will receive honors in the major.
Upon successful completion of the program, students receive eight academic credits, which may be applied to the major. IR majors may earn upper-level credit for 401/402 and may apply the credits to either their functional and/or regional tracks.
Please reach out to your Pardee School academic advisor if you have questions about the Honors Program.
Honors students have many resources to utilize!
Your most important resource is your Honors Thesis Advisor. All students are strongly encouraged to have regular meetings with your advisor to discuss your research, outlines for your theses, and deadlines to work toward.
Please note that adjunct professors cannot be faculty advisors or panelists for the Honors Program.
Boston University’s Educational Resource Center (ERC)
The ERC regularly hosts workshops and sessions on topics ranging from “self-editing and proofreading” to “reading strategies.” Sign-up for any that sound helpful to you. The ERC also maintains a list of University-wide academic resources.
Boston University Libraries
The BU Library system has many online resources to support your research efforts including research guides by topic. You can also set up a personal appointment with a BU Librarian through the Ask a Librarian resource. Or, consult one of their many “How to Guides” for help with everything ranging from bibliographies to using primary sources.
Past Pardee School Theses for Reference
Click the links below to access several past theses.
- Loja Villonaco: A Case Study on the Energy, Environmental and Social Impacts of Chinese Investment in Clean Energy in Ecuador
- Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool: Case Studies on the Former Yugoslavia and Present-Day Russia
- The Future of Chinese Nuclear Posture: Understanding China’s Nuclear Vulnerabilities and Approach to Maintaining Deterrence.