Students must have a cumulative 3.33 average in their regular political science courses taken at Middlebury through the end of the junior year in order to undertake an honors thesis project.

Regular political science courses include fall and spring political science courses, plus a maximum of one winter term political science course.

A proposal for an honors thesis must be submitted to—and approved by—a student’s thesis advisor. No exceptions will be made to these requirements.


A thesis project normally is inspired by a research or seminar paper written during the junior or senior year, often in a 400-level seminar or 500-level independent project. We strongly recommend that students do the following as part of their planning:

  • Begin thinking about their thesis project and speaking with potential advisors in their junior year.
  • Enroll in a methods course before their senior year.
  • If planning to write a philosophy thesis, take a 300-level political philosophy course before their senior year.

A political science honors thesis is a three-term project.

Normally, students register for PSCI 0500 in the first term of the thesis process, PSCI 0700 in the second term, and PSCI 0700 (again) in the final term. May graduates will normally work on theses in the fall, winter, and spring terms of their senior year, while February graduates will work on theses during the spring, fall, and winter terms.