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Honors Program

The International Studies Honors Program is designed for a limited number of students who have demonstrated excellence in the major. It is recommended for students who have a strong interest in doing original research and those who intend to pursue graduate or professional study.

Admission to the IS Honors Program is based on eligibility requirements and is determined by application only.

Honors Program Overview

The Honors Program in International Studies recognizes and promotes academic excellence in the major by allowing qualified students to complete an honors thesis in close collaboration with a member of the UCSD faculty.

The IS Honors Program consists of a two quarter sequence: INTL 190H (Fall quarter) and INTL 196H (Winter quarter). During the first quarter of the program (INTL 190H), students finalize their topics and complete the first chapter of their thesis. Those who receive a B+ or better in INTL 190H will be invited to continue on in INTL 196H and to complete a thesis on their chosen topic by the end of Winter quarter.

The thesis grade and level of honors will be determined by two independent faculty members assigned by ISP.  These faculty members will assign a grade to the thesis on a 4 point scale and the thesis grade and level of honors is determined by averaging both grades.  If criteria for honors is met, students will be entitled to the designation of graduating with a major in International Studies “with highest distinction”, “with high distinction”, or “with distinction”.

Eligibility & Requirements

Application for the International Studies Honors Program is required and due the spring quarter prior to enrollment in INTL 190H. 

  • Senior standing at time of enrollment in INTL 190H (> 135 units completed).
  • Major GPA: 3.5 or higher.
    • Major GPA: Consists only of upper-division major courses including EAP and summer session.
    • Completion of INTL 101 and INTL 102 with a C- or better.
    • Completion of five (5) upper-division disciplinary focus and interdisciplinary elective courses with a C- or better.
    • Enrollment at UCSD fall & winter quarters of senior year.
    • Faculty Advisor: Students are required to secure a thesis advisor that is a member of the UCSD faculty with corresponding research interests.

Honors Application Deadline:

Monday of Week 10 by 4 pm during the spring quarter PRIOR to enrollment in INTL 190H. Completed applications must be submitted to the ISP undergraduate advisor.

Note: Students that have questions or concerns regarding eligibility should contact the ISP undergraduate advisor at isp@ucsd.edu.

Application

Application Deadline:

Monday of Week 10 by 4 pm during the spring quarter PRIOR to enrollment in INTL 190H.  Applications must be delivered to the International Studies Advising office.

  • Honors Application (Traditional major with Primary and Secondary Tracks)
  • Honors Application (New major with Disciplinary Focus and Interdisciplinary Electives)
  • Faculty Advisor
    • Students must secure a faculty advisor prior to submitting the honors application.

Structuring the Thesis

Unlike most classes, the thesis project is largely self-paced, requiring discipline and steady commitment. Students often find it helpful to create stages in the writing of the thesis, discrete steps that allow for steady development of the project and regular feedback from the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor should provide direction at each step, but, once again, the student is responsible for submitting completed research and writing.

The following is a suggested sequence for completing the thesis, but the exact order and structure should be agreed by each faculty advisor and student.

  1. Prospectus: Each thesis begins with a prospectus, a detailed description of your research project that includes a plan of action. The prospectus is a blueprint of and justification for your project. It should contain a working title, a brief introduction of your topic, a presentation of your thesis (i.e., your argument, or the central questions that you will attempt to answer), an explanation of the significance of the project, a brief discussion of what has been written about the topic, a tentative outline, and a preliminary bibliography.
  2. Annotated Bibliography: This extensive bibliography requires a brief review of the most important sources. Consult librarians about search methods and bibliographical tools. Once you identify likely sources, you will evaluate the value of each source to your project through a cursory overview of each source and a description of its contribution to your research; that is, an annotation of each source.
  3. Research Methodology: At this point you will need to describe your research design and methods. How will you conduct your research? What kinds of sources will you use? If primary sources are available, what are the problems or limitations with using them? Justify your research approach and how and why you chose your sources. Finally, discuss any potential methodological problems that you foresee.
  4. Outline: Break down the thesis into chapters or parts and organize your argument and the evidence that will support it.
  5. Drafts of Chapters: For issues of formatting and style, consult a manual, such as The Chicago Manual of Style. The International Studies Program does not require a specific format, but each thesis must be internally consistent. Please consult with your faculty advisor for style preference.
  6. A rough draft should be submitted well in advance of the due date to the faculty advisor. 

INTL 190H. Senior Honors Seminar in International Studies

In INTL 190H, the thesis topic is finalized and the first chapter of the thesis is completed. The course is graded by the faculty member teaching the seminar. The grade earned in INTL 190H will appear on your official transcript whether or not you go on to complete INTL 196H (the honors thesis).

Enrollment

  • Approved application required for enrollment.
  • Honors applications will be reviewed following the finalization of spring quarter grades.  If the applications are approved, students will be guaranteed a spot in INTL 190H and will receive notification to enroll via UCSD e-mail.

Grading

  • Students must earn a B+ or better in INTL 190H in order to continue with the program.  The grade for INTL 190H will be given by the instructor of the seminar.

INTL 196H. Senior Thesis Research

In INTL 196H, research and writing of a 40-100 page senior thesis is completed. This is a self-paced class, requiring discipline and steady commitment, with the opportunity for regular feedback from the faculty advisor. The course grade is determined by your faculty thesis advisor.

Enrollment

  • Individualized sections of INTL 196H will be available with each faculty advisor serving as the instructor of record.
    • Students will need to enroll in their specific section of INTL 196H during their enrollment time for winter quarter.  A spot in this section will be guaranteed.

Grading

  • Grades in INTL 196H will be given by the faculty advisor not on the basis of the thesis, but for the work, effort and overall performance demonstrated over the course of the research project.

Thesis Information

Submission Information

  • Due: Winter quarter by 4:00 pm Monday of finals week.
  • Location: International Studies Advising Office
  • Hard Copies Required: 3 (2 copies for the readers, 1 copy for the archive)
  • Electronic Copy: Sent to isp@ucsd.edu
  • Late Submission: Theses turned in after 4:00 pm will have their grades reduced by 0.5 points for every 24 hour period (e.g. a thesis turned in at 12:00 pm on Tuesday of finals week will receive a 0.5 point reduction).

Formatting Information

  • ISP does not require a specific format, however each thesis must be internally consistent.  Please consult your faculty advisor for style preference.

Thesis Grading Information

The thesis grade and level of honors will be determined by two independent faculty members assigned by ISP.  These faculty members will assign a grade to the thesis on a 4 point scale and the thesis grade and level of honors is determined by averaging both grades.  The faculty advisor will only assign a grade for INTL 196H, not for the thesis.

Thesis Grading Scale

  • Highest Distinction (A+): 4.0 - 3.9
  • High Distinction (A): 3.8 - 3.7
  • Distinction (A-): 3.6 - 3.5
  • No Distinction (B+ and below): 3.4 and below

Note: A third reader will be obtained if there is a discrepancy of 4 points or more between the two graders (i.e. 3.4 to 3.8).

To receive honors in International Studies, students must earn an appropriate thesis grade as well as meet the requirements detailed in “Honors Criteria”.

Honors Criteria

To receive honors in International Studies, students must complete all requirements for the major:

  • Attain an exit GPA of 3.5 in courses in the International Studies major (INTL 101, 102, disciplinary focus, and interdisciplinary elective courses). The exit GPA includes all coursework through winter quarter of senior year including INTL 190H and INTL 196H.
  • Receive a thesis grade of A- or better.
  • Each student whose honor thesis earns a grade of A- shall be entitled to the designation "with distinction."
  • Each student whose honors thesis earns a grade of an A shall be entitled to the designation "with high distinction."
  • Each student whose honors thesis earns a grade of an A+ shall be entitled to the designation "with highest distinction."