Political science students with strong academic records are encouraged generally to take advantage of honors opportunities such as Departmental Honors, Pi Sigma Alpha, and the Pierre Laclede Honors College. Not only are these accomplishments officially recognized at commencement ceremonies, along with any Latin Honors you may have earned based on cumulative GPA (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude), but they of course further strengthen graduate/law school and job applications.
The department awards honors to students having a GPA of at least 3.2 in the political science major, an overall GPA of at least 3.2 (except in extraordinary circumstances), and successful completion of an honors thesis, project, or report. The latter paper may be either an extension of a paper prepared for a regular political science course, an independent research paper prepared for PS 3900 (Special Readings) and representing course work beyond the 36 hours required of majors, or a separate paper prepared by the student specifically for departmental honors. Students seeking department honors should select a faculty member to supervise the project. Honors will be awarded based on two readings, one by the faculty supervisor and the other by a faculty member appointed by the department chair. Students must submit their honors paper at least two weeks before the end of classes in the semester in which they expect to earn departmental honors. Any questions can be directed to the Department office.
Pi Sigma Alpha
Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society. Headquartered at Georgetown University, there are now some 400 chapters distributed among the leading collegiate institutions in the country. Total membership in the society is approximately 112,000. The UM‐St. Louis chapter was founded in the 1970s. Student membership in the society is conferred on the basis of scholastic achievement.
Candidates are selected from graduate and upper class students. Students who are not political science majors may be elected to membership provided they meet the scholastic requirements and have demonstrated a manifest interest in political science. Every student must have completed at least 15 hours of political science course work with a minimum GPA of 3.2, and at least 60 hours overall with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Application forms are available in 347 SSB. The department Undergraduate Affairs Committee approves all applications and notifies students of their acceptance. A $30.00 initiation fee is required by the national organization. Reception into the society is recognized with a membership certificate and with an induction ceremony held at the departmentʹs alumni reunion every other year.