Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Social Science Honors Program?
The Social Science Honors Program (SSHP) is a unique opportunity for students to thoroughly study a topic of interest through the process of research. The one-year course facilitates discussion, direction, and guidance for students to have the proper support to complete a comprehensive thesis. The program also fosters a close-knit community of students and faculty with resources to enhance the scholars’ experiences.

What are the requirements for the Social Science Honors program?
The program requires students to have a 3.30 overall GPA and a 3.40 in the Social Science or Social Policy and Public Service major. Students are encouraged to meet a counselor to inquire about their major GPA to see if they qualify for the program. If there are unique circumstances and the GPA is one-tenth point away from the requirement, students can petition for admission to the program.

Who should consider the Social Science Honors Program?
Students who want to maximize their undergraduate education will most benefit from this program. If you want to learn and become most competitive for your post-baccalaureate pursuits, SSHP is the program for you. Please note, however, you must have a passion for learning and an interest in conducting your own research.

Why should I consider the Social Science Honors Program?
The training will provide you with a unique set of writing, analytical and critical thinking skills. You will also gain from interpreting data and writing a comprehensive thesis. Your faculty advisor and the program director will provide direction on ways to improve your writing and the best means to conduct research. The challenge of the activity will not only enhance your knowledge of the topic but you will build collegial ties with your faculty mentors and other peers interested in social issues. All of the various activities will prepare students for their future leadership roles in their respective fields ranging from advancing to graduate school to pursue a position at a non-profit or government agency.

What are the advantages of the Social Science Honors Program?
Students will be challenged to think critically about a social issue. You will be supported and encouraged to consider what social issue you will address as a scholar. Other advantages include having a faculty advisor, honors distinction on the diploma, an active and challenging learning environment, and direction for graduate school planning.

What are the courses that are required to complete the Social Science Honors Program?
The classes only include the three H190ABC series where students attend class during the Fall and engage with their faculty independently in the Winter and Spring quarters. Specifically, during the Fall quarter, students identify a faculty and begin to identify their topic of interest. Students submit proposals and start their literature review. Winter and Spring quarters, the program director offers bi-weekly seminars for students to discuss students’ progress. Students engage in discussion and share resources as a learning community. Further, direction and guidance are provided to ensure a strong approach to examining the topic of interest.

Can transfer students enroll in the program and do they perform well if selected?
All transfer students are encouraged to consider the program. You are recommended to wait a year for your transition to the university prior to entering the Social Science Honors Program. This time will allow you to acquire a GPA for the academic year and will give students time to transition and acquaint themselves with faculty expectations.

Are there social aspects to the program?
Yes, the program will facilitate an academic family environment. The seminars will foster an open discussion format and there will be the collaboration with other students. In addition, the students will be encouraged to build a mentorship relationship with their faculty advisors. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings will facilitate both an academic and personal exchange. Faculty may invite students for coffee and explore their mentees’ future graduate pursuits. Further, plans for graduate school may be outlined and if the students demonstrate strong scholarship, they may receive a strong letter of recommendation from faculty and program director.

Are there specific scholarships available to honors students?
The School of Social Sciences provides the opportunity for the select group of students writing a thesis to be considered for a scholarship. To apply, the advisor and student write the application. The students must accompany the form with their thesis and a faculty letter must highlight the unique contributions of the work.

How do to I apply to the Social Science Honors Program?
Contact the SSHP director to express your interest. Visit the website and fill out the application. Students must follow-up on the application and meet with the director to share their thoughts about the fit for the program. Make sure to review all tabs on the SSHP website to have questions not answered on the website.

What are specific steps I should step to prepare for the program?
Students are recommended to start considering a topic of interest. What is your passion and what specific social issue do you want to examine? Also, start to identify faculty who study the topic and who can supervise your process. Make a list of 2-4 faculty to ensure you have an advisor for the program. Other tips for preparation include the participation of other research programs that will prepare students for writing a thesis. These programs include the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (REAP) and the Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP). Students are also encouraged to join a lab to attain an understanding of research and to take all the required writing classes.

Can I enroll in the Social Science Honors program if I am not a Social Science or Social Policy and Public Service major?
Some top students in the School of Social Sciences may want to write a thesis and they may have missed the opportunity to participate in the honors program in their individual majors. The Social Science Honors Program allows students from all majors in the Social Sciences to participate if they meet the GPA requirement. Instead of having the honors distinction in their diploma, however, their transcript will reflect the honors thesis class and they will receive a certificate of distinction from the Dean.