FAQ

What is the difference between an honors adviser and an academic adviser?

All Schreyer scholars are assigned both an honors adviser and an academic adviser. The honors adviser is a faculty member whose primary role is to help you navigate your academic life and achieve your goals at Penn State. Among other things, your honors adviser can help you choose the right courses, discuss whether a major is right for you, and review what enrichment and professional development opportunities you should pursue in addition to your coursework. Your academic adviser is there to assist you with practical matters such as scheduling classes and tracking degree requirements, and to help you find solutions to problems that interfere with your success at Penn State.

 

What is the difference between an honors adviser and a thesis adviser?

The thesis adviser is a faculty member who will supervise your honors thesis. You will meet with your thesis adviser on a regular basis during the thesis writing process. It is your responsibility to secure a thesis adviser by the end of your junior year. The honors adviser is a faculty member assigned to you upon entry into the Schreyer Honors College. The honors adviser is there to help you navigate your academic life and achieve your goals at Penn State. While you can discuss your thesis with your honors adviser, most of your interactions during the thesis writing process will be with your thesis adviser. Both your thesis adviser and your honors adviser must approve your thesis.

 

How and when do I look for a thesis adviser?

Most Schreyer scholars do not begin looking for a thesis adviser until their junior year when they start to think about potential topics for their honors thesis. It is often a good idea to have taken courses with potential thesis advisers so that you can get to know them and they can get to know you. Most students arrange to meet with potential thesis advisers to talk about their proposed thesis topic. After you have discussed your potential thesis topic with several faculty members, you must get one of them to agree to act as your thesis adviser. It is your responsibility to secure a thesis adviser by the end of your junior year.

 

Where can I find information on the requirements and expectations of all Schreyer scholars

You can find all information on the requirements and expectations of all Schreyer scholars in the Schreyer Honors College Student Handbook.

 

Can I change my honors adviser?

Yes, you can change your honors adviser. If you have questions or concerns about your honors advising, please contact the Schreyer Honors College of Academic Advising, Dr. Richard Stoller, at rjs@psu.edu.

 

Are there specific classes I need to take to get honors in Political Science or International Politics?

In addition to meeting your requirements to remain in the Schreyer Honors College, you must complete two courses to be eligible to complete a thesis in Political Science or International Politics:

 

Political Science 300H: An Introduction to Thesis Research.

This three-credit course should be taken during your junior year. The class is always taught in the Fall semester; sometimes it is also offered in the Spring semester. This course is designed to help you develop a thesis topic and find a thesis adviser. If you think you will not be able to take 300H because of study abroad in your junior year or for some other reason, you should consult with your honors adviser about alternative classes or take it in your sophomore year.

 

Political Science 306H: Senior Thesis Writing Workshop.

This is a year-long workshop that meets once a week in your senior year. You should enroll in 1.5 credits each semester. This course is designed to help you make progress with your thesis as you collect data, complete analyses, and write up the final draft.

 

In addition, all seniors writing an honors thesis should enroll in 3 credits of Political Science 494H: Independent Research, typically in the Spring semester, with their thesis adviser. These are independent research credits.

 

Finally, it is highly recommended that all students should take Political Science 309: Quantitative Political Analysis or a graduate-level statistics course in consultation with their honors adviser. Students who enter the Schreyer Honors College through the Paterno Fellows Program must take PLSC 309 as part of their admittance requirements.

 

What are the important dates for completing a thesis in Political Science or International Politics?

  • Sophomore year: Complete Political Science 309: Quantitative Political Analysis.
  • Junior year: Complete Political Science 300H: An Introduction to Thesis Research. Find a thesis adviser and submit a Thesis Proposal Report.
  • Senior Year: Write your honors thesis in Political Science 306H: Senior Thesis Writing Workshop over the entire year and in Political Science 494H: Independent Research during the Spring semester. Submit your thesis and present your research at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition.

 

Am I eligible to also do Paterno Fellows?

The only requirement is that you receive a grade of B+ or better in Political Science 309: Quantitative Political Analysis.

 

Is it possible to do an honors thesis in a different department?
Yes, it is possible for your thesis adviser not to be in the Department of Political Science. It remains your responsibility, though, to find a thesis adviser by the end of your junior year. Your thesis must still be approved by your honors adviser in the Department of Political Science.