Honors and Awards

Political Science Honors Program

Director: Dr. Eric Heberlig

The Political Science Honors Program consists of a two-course sequence (see detailed guidelines): 1) POLS 3700 Honors Research, in which the student does a literature review and develops a research design; and 2) POLS 4700 Honors Thesis, in which the student completes the research and finalizes the thesis. The student must do an oral defense of the thesis in front of a committee that includes the topic advisor and two other faculty members.


To be admitted into the Political Science Honors Program, a student must complete POLS 2220 Research Methods with a grade of “A”, have an overall GPA at UNC Charlotte of at least 3.25, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in Political Science classes taken at UNC Charlotte. Students can seek admission to the Political Science Honors Program upon fulfilling these requirements. All new honors students at UNC Charlotte must sign the UNC Charlotte Honors College Student Code.

Certification Requirements

To be awarded Honors in Political Science, a student must complete the Honors Thesis (POLS 4700) with a grade of “A”, including certification by the student’s honors committee that the thesis is of honors quality and deserves that grade. In addition, the student must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in Political Science and earn an overall GPA of at least 3.25 at UNC Charlotte. Following successful completion of these requirements, the honors notation will appear on the student’s official transcript.


In addition to these formal requirements, students in the Political Science Honors Program are invited to participate in the following:

  • Opportunities to meet with guest speakers in smaller groups to discuss research and career paths;
  • “Meet the Faculty” sessions during which POLS/MPAD faculty members discusses their research, giving honors students a better sense of the range of possible research topics and allowing them to identify potential topic advisors;
  • Panels on applying to graduate school, pursuing international careers, etc.; and
  • Invitations to attend brown bag presentations in the department.

For more information about the Political Science Honors Program, or to discuss your eligibility for admission, please contact Dr. Eric Heberlig at esheberl@uncc.edu.

Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society

The Theta Epsilon Chapter of the National Political Science Honorary Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, is located at UNC Charlotte. Requirements for member­ship are:

  1. junior standing;
  2. completion of at least three Political Science courses, at least one of which must be at the 3000-level or higher. Transfer students must have completed at least two of the three courses at UNC Charlotte;
  3. a minimum of a 3.3 GPA overall; and
  4. not less than a 3.5 GPA in Political Science courses.

Students meeting these qualifications will receive a letter of invitation to join during the Spring semester. An initiation reception is normally held during the Spring semester.

Pi Sigma Alpha Paper Competition

This award is presented in the Spring at the annual Pi Sigma Alpha banquet to an undergraduate Political Science major. Faculty members are asked in March of each year to submit up to three papers that they believe would qualify for this competition. Papers must have been written for a Political Science course (including independent study) since February of the preceding year. Papers of any length may be submitted. They may also be revised between their initial class submission and their submission to the Undergraduate Awards Committee (no papers may ever be resubmitted). Submittals will be evaluated solely upon their academic excellence. The winner or winners of this award will receive a $50.00 check and a certificate.

Outstanding Senior Award

Senior Political Science majors at UNC Charlotte with at least a 3.2 GPA overall, and at least a 3.2 GPA in Political Science courses, are nominated for this award by Political Science faculty members in the Spring semester. Student participation in extra-curricular activities, including school functions, work responsibilities, etc., is also taken into consideration. The selected senior, as well as those seniors who were nominated by faculty, will be notified once a decision is reached by the Undergraduate Awards Committee. The Outstanding Senior will be recognized at two university functions in March: the Alumni Association Annual Recognition Dinner, and the Student Activities’ Honors and Awards program.