Honours in Political Science

Political Science B.A. (Honours) students can expect to graduate with a deeper understanding of Political Science subject matter. They will be better prepared for further studies such as a Master of Arts or law school. They will also be able to research and write independently at a higher standard than if they had only completed a Major. It is particularly useful for students going on to law or graduate school, journalism, or the civil service, as well as anyone wanting to prepare a piece of independent research and writing.


  • Strong knowledge of Political Science
  • Increased flexibility to choose Political Science courses that interest you
  • More opportunities for graduate school or jobs
  • Preparation of an Honours Essay develops independent research and writing skills
  • Get to know Political Science students and faculty better
  • Easiest way to pursue an optional concentration in Canadian Government or Global Studies


  • Reduced flexibility in non-Political Science courses than a Major
  • Need to sustain a higher academic performance
  • Not always necessary for graduate school or jobs, particularly if your academic average is 90%+

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has a number of requirements to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) as outlined in the University Calendar. As part of their non-Political Science electives, candidates may wish to consider courses with associated content offered by other departments, such as Economics, History, Philosophy, Sociology, or Women's Studies.

While working towards an Honours in Political Science, you could opt to select courses that will allow you to also complete an academic certificate.

Instead of a Political Science Honours you could opt to take a Joint Honours. This would require completing the requirements for an Honours in Political Science and completing the requirements for an Honours in another subject. You would no longer have a Minor and would write the Honours Essay for only one of the two departments. For example, instead of graduating with an Honours in Political Science and a Minor in Geography, you could graduate with an Honours in Political Science and a Major in Geography. Candidates may consult with the Head of the Department or its Undergraduate Liaison to receive advice on Political Science course selections.

To graduate with an Honours, a candidate must have an overall average of 70% or better, or 75% or better in the required Political Science courses (excluding 1000-level courses). As well, 70% or better is required on the Honours Essay (POSC 4010 and 4011). A student receiving 55% or less on any Political Science course at the 2000-level or higher is expected to seek advice from the Department at the start of the next semester to ensure that adequate progress is being maintained.

Students interested in an Honours should formally declare before the end of their second year to ensure that appropriate course selections are made.

Honours Requirements - Political Science

  1. An Honours degree provides students with additional research and writing skills, may be required for admission to a graduate program, and may be useful preparation for law and other professional fields. Students considering the Honours program are encouraged to apply before their fourth semester and to begin considering a potential Honours research topic before their seventh semester. Admission to the program is in accordance with UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS and the Regulations for the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Arts.

  2. In addition to meeting the general requirements for the degree, students for a B.A.(Hons.) in Political Science must complete at least 60 credit hours in courses offered by the Department, including:

    1. 18 credit hours in POSC 1000, 2100, 2800, 3010, 4010, 4011;

    2. a minimum of 6 credit hours in Political Science courses numbered x2xx and/or x3xx;

    3. a minimum of 3 credit hours in Political Science courses numbered x6xx and/or x8xx (in addition to POSC 2800);

    4. 27 credit hours at the 3000 or 4000 level (in addition to POSC 3010), including a minimum of 9 credit hours at the 4000 level (in addition to POSC 4010 and 4011); and

    5. a further 6 credit hours in Political Science at any level.

  3. Students for an Honours degree are required to select courses as specified under Honours in Political Science. A possible course pattern is presented in Table 2 Course Pattern for an Honours in Political Science.

  4. Students electing Joint Honours are required to complete at least 51 credit hours in Political Science, including 42 credit hours chosen in accordance with the pattern set out in the degree regulations for a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Political Science. An additional 9 credit hours can be selected from POSC courses, however, no more than 3 credit hours from POSC 1010 or 1020 are eligible. If the student chooses to complete the Honours Essay (POSC 4010 and 4011) in Political Science, it must be passed with a grade of 70% or better.


Honours Essay
Near the end of your third year of study you should review the Department's areas of research expertise and contact a relevant faculty member to begin the process of thinking about a research topic. To enroll in the course you will need to obtain a supervisor for the Honours Essay. You also need to complete an add/drop form to register in Political Science 4010 (Honours Essay I) for the first semester of your fourth year. Working with the supervisor, you will prepare a research proposal and drafts of at least one section of the Essay during your fourth semester. Along with the specific courses mentioned before, writing this Essay is the major part of the Honours program. It should reflect work equivalent to two senior level courses and be a polished, well integrated piece of work. In order to write it, you must meet regularly with your supervisor. 

Library Study Room Bookings
There are a number of study rooms in the QEII library available to students. Many of these rooms are allocated on a first-come first-served basis each day (including weekends). However some other rooms are reserved exclusively for the use of Honours and graduate students for a full semester. Interested students are encouraged to sign up for this type of room as soon as possible to avoid being placed on a waiting list. While demand varies, to ensure that you have access in some years it may be best to reserve more than a semester in advance. Be sure to consult the study room policies.

Examples of Past Honours Thesis Titles
Honours candidates are encouraged to consult past theses in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies in the QEII library on campus.

Canadian Politics

  • A divided nation: protest movements of the Labrador and Quebec Innu
  • Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada: History, Models and the Future
  • An inclusive Canada: the success of the Canadian policy of multiculturalism
  • Attitudes and social characteristics affecting participation in the local problem solving process in Newfoundland
  • Attitudes towards rights issues: the rationality of Canadian citizens
  • Canada's Christian right?: comparing the American Christian Right to the Reform/Alliance Party in Canada
  • Canadian jurisdiction over the Northwest Passage
  • Democratic deficit in Canada: implications for Members of Parliament
  • Drowning in an Anglo-Saxon sea: the evolution of Quebec nationalism
  • Fiscal responsibility: austerity programs in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan
  • Gift of the gab or political persuasion: the oratorical skills of Joseph R. Smallwood
  • Historical consequences: an examination of high school history textbooks in Quebec and Ontario in order to assess their differences as potential effects on political tendencies
  • Hydro-electric development in Labrador: the loss of Newfoundland's resources
  • Incidental protest violence in Newfoundland: three cases
  • National unity - a false quest: the organizational power theory in the Canadian context
  • Organized religion and the rise of populist protest movements: the experience in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
  • Ottawa and the third sector: the Voluntary Sector Initiative - will its 'legacy' live on?
  • Partisan participation: the effects on national elections in Canada since 1974
  • Party politics and the provincial North in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador: a comparative approach
  • Political trust in Canada: 1983-1993
  • Protest politics in Alberta: from the early 1900s, to the present
  • Senate reform in Canada
  • Small parties in Canada: members, motivations and achievements
  • St. Lawrence fluorspar mines: the politics of injustice
  • The effectiveness of the Senate in representing regional interests
  • The National Energy Program: an exercise in federal government autonomy
  • The political significance of VOCM open-line radio programming in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • The rise of Canadian energy politics: reviewing the federal and intergovernmental effects of the 1973 and 1979 international oil shocks in Canada
  • True north strong and barrier-free: an assessment of the Canadian policy of multiculturalism and its drivers
  • Where are the women?: Unequal representation in municipal government in Newfoundland and Labrador

Comparative Politics

  • Civil society and state-media relations in Poland and Hungary
  • Integration and the Central American experience, 1959-1969
  • International law: a remedy for forgotten human rights abuses in Chile and Argentina
  • Latin America in Canadian foreign policy: same hemisphere, different neighbourhoods
  • Learning to count: electoral reform in New Zealand and Britain
  • Multilateralism?: A comparative analysis of Canadian and American foreign policy regarding the decision to invade Iraq in 2003
  • Roadblocks on the path to reform: understanding the barriers to transitional democracy in the Middle East
  • Sino-American trade relations: China's accession to the World Trade Organization: the American perspective
  • Subject to history: the Japanese-South Korean relationship examined through the Dokdo/Takeshima territorial dispute
  • The "October" and "Rose" revolutions: democratic transformations in Yugoslavia and Georgia in the post-communist era
  • The crescent and the sword: a symbolic analysis of Islam and military rule in Indonesia
  • The Freedom Party and the Republikaner: assessing the extreme right in Austria and Germany
  • The thistle and the fleur de Lys: a discussion of nationalist politics in Scotland and Quebec
  • Towards global security: lessons from Europe
  • U.S. China policy: changing roles for the President and Congress
  • Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution and twenty first century socialism: lessons from the past, predictions for the future
  • Women's political participation and representation in Norway and Sweden

International Politics

  • Ambitions of integration: Baltic security in the post cold war era
  • An examination as to why the Security Council of the United Nations failed to resolve the Middle East Crisis of 1967
  • An examination of the radical right in the United States: similarities and differences in ideology, structural organization, and tactics
  • Creating political space: the use of gender roles in Argentina
  • Dependence and the development of the political economy of Cuba
  • Eastern European democratization: Slovakia's quest to consolidate
  • Factors responsible for British withdrawal from the Palestine mandate in 1948
  • Globalization and the state: a case study of policy
  • Greenpeace: tactics and methods
  • Haunted by history: a study of leadership and revolution within the Soviet Union
  • Irish neutrality and the common foreign and security policy: an analysis
  • 'It is better to die struggling than to live as a slave': just acquisition and property regimes in rural Brazil
  • Jimmy Carter's foreign policy: human rights for everyone?
  • La violencia revisited: an examination of power contenders in Colombia during the 1980's
  • Out of extraordinary human disaster, must be born a society of which all humanity can be proud: a study of violence, AIDS and democratization in South Africa
  • Structural adjustment in Zimbabwe: political and economic linkages
  • The changing tides of international war crimes law
  • The effects of party identification and political cynicism on third-party voting: the case of George Wallace and Ross Perot
  • The employment effects of multinational corporations in developing countries: a case study of Brazil
  • The history and use of television commercials in American presidential elections
  • The political and social participation of the women of Iran: an historical case study of the effects of the Islamic revolution
  • The re-emergence of the British Liberal Party: 1974-1988
  • The Rwandan genocide and its devastating aftermath: a case for recognition of the current impact of genocidal sexual violence
  • The Soviet quest for supremacy in military affairs
  • The student anti-globalization movement in Newfoundland: local analysis with global relevance
  • The unintended alliance: humanitarian aid as a weapon of war
  • Women reaching for the top: why Sri Lankan women are more likely to get involved in national politics rather than local politics

Political Theory

  • A study of opinion leadership in Newfoundland: Katz and Lazarsfeld revisited
  • Deliberative democracy: passing fad or next evolutionary step?
  • Determining the roots of youth political involvement: a study of how family, school and peers influence political involvement
  • Humanitarian intervention: theory and practice
  • Justice and the minimal state: entitlements, environmentalism, and capabilities
  • No peace without freedom: an examination of democratic peace
  • Political conditionality: its origins, evolution and how it shapes developing nations
  • The civil society: impacts on democracy and perceived decline
  • The morality of liberalism

Public Policy and Administration

  • A far sighted excursion into socialized medicine or a bureaucratic perversion of medical practice: Newfoundland's cottage hospital system 1934-1949
  • Addressing Weakness, Prolonging Weakness: Canada's Policy on Failed States and the Implications for Haiti
  • Amnesty International: a descriptive, explanatory and comparative analysis of its goals, functions, and annual report
  • Collective bargaining in the public service
  • Creating the path of least resistance: the Department of External Affairs and Newfoundland, 1941-1948
  • Economic efficiency versus social equality: the cost of fiscal health in Canada
  • Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation and the prospects for community economic development in rural Newfoundland
  • Environmental flight restriction: Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, environmental management, and the politics of low-level flight training in Labrador
  • Free trade and federalism: the implications of Canada-U.S. trade liberalization for Canadian intergovernmental relations
  • Interest articulation in Newfoundland: a case study of petroleum policy
  • Post Keynesian economic planning: an overview of the obstacles to a post Keynesian industrial policy using a case study of the National Energy Plan
  • The competitive EDGE?: an evaluation of the Economic Diversification and Growth Enterprises Program
  • The factory freezer trawler decision: a case study in intergovernmental relations
  • The old dog for a hard road: a history of the administration of the Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • The organization of the volunteer fire service in Newfoundland: a problem in public administration
  • The role of the church in determining educational policy in Newfoundland
  • The search for balance: Canadian immigration policy and 9/11
  • The Youth Criminal Justice: necessary change or political expediency