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Honors Program in Public Policy

The Public Policy Program gives students the opportunity to pursue honors work. To graduate with honors in Public Policy, a student must:

  1. Seniors must apply for admission to the honors program no later than October 11, 2013.
  2. Complete the requirements for the B.A. in Public Policy and achieve an GPA of 3.5 in the following courses:
    1. Public Policy core
    2. Concentration area courses
    3. Senior Honors Seminar - Take PUBLPOL 200H during Autumn Quarter of senior year
    4. Public Policy 199 (Senior Research)

*Courses not taken at Stanford are not included in calculating the GPA.

**Note: Beginning in 2013-2014, all new majors are required to take an applied econometrics course.  If you declared prior to 2013-2014, you will need to take an applied econometrics course for the honors program, ideally by the end of Spring Quarter of the junior year.

During Senior year, enroll in at least 8 but no more than 15 units of Public Policy 199 Senior Research, with the thesis adviser. Students need to contact the program office to have the thesis adviser listed as a 199 instructor. An 'N' grade will be given by the adviser in quarters prior to Spring, when the thesis is completed and presented.  Once your thesis is graded, all units of PUBLPOL 199 will be given the same grade as your thesis.  All PUBLPOL 199 Senior Research units must receive a final grade of at least a 'B+.'

Students who intend to pursue honors work should plan their academic schedules so that most core courses are completed before the beginning of the senior year, and all core and concentration courses are completed by the end of Winter Quarter of senior year. This scheduling gives students both the time and the necessary course background to complete their honors thesis during Spring Quarter. In addition, porspective honors students are encouraged to enroll in Public Policy 197 Junior Honors Seminar during Spring Quarter. This course focuses on developing a research plan and learning the research skills necessary to complete an honors thesis.

To apply, a student must submit a completed application to the Public Policy Program office with a brief description of the thesis. Honors applications are found online. The student must obtain the sponsorship of a faculty member who approves of the thesis description and agrees to serve as a thesis adviser. Students intending to write a thesis involving more than one discipline may wish to have two advisors, at least one of whom is affiliated with the Public Policy Program. At least one of the faculty advisers must be a member of the Academic Council.

The honors thesis must be submitted to both the thesis adviser and the Public Policy Program office. Graduation with honors requires that the thesis be approved by both the adviser and the Director of the Public Policy Program. The role of the Director is to assure that the thesis deals with an issue of public policy and satisfies the standards of excellence of the program. However, the grade of the honors thesis is determined solely by the adviser. The thesis adviser sets the deadlines for receiving the final draft of the thesis; the director sets the deadline for theses to be considered for University and department awards. To graduate with honors at the Spring commencement, a student must submit a final bound copy and an electronic copy of the thesis to the Public Policy program office no later than the last Friday in May. In order to be considered for University an department awards, the final thesis must be submitted to the program office no later than the third Wednesday in May.

Members of staff, executive committee, lecturers, and affiliated faculty in Public Policy are available to provide assistance in selecting a thesis topic and adviser.