Invitations for Current UTSA Students
Each spring and fall semester, the Honors College accepts a number of current UTSA students who have excelled during their time here at UTSA. Students who meet the following criteria will receive an invitation to apply to the Honors College.
- Minimum 3.5 UTSA GPA, and
- Completion of at least 12 credit hours of UTSA coursework and no more than 60 total credit hours
Email invitations are sent to qualifying students’ UTSA-provided email accounts within the first two weeks of classes each spring and fall semester. Should the student choose to pursue a seat in the Honors College, he or she will participate in the following application process:
- Attend an Honors Open House session
- Complete and submit the given essay application by the specified deadline
- If invited to move forward, attend an in-person interview
- If invited to move forward, attend a second in-person interview
- If invited to move forward, attend an orientation session for new Honors students
- Meet with an Honors College Academic Advisor
UTSA Students Over 60 Credit Hours
Current UTSA students who meet the GPA requirement but have more than 60 credit hours of completed coursework who are interested in joining the Honors College may be considered for eligibility to apply on a case-by-case basis.
Requirements for Petition to waive 60 hour limit are due April 15 for Fall applications and November 15 for Spring. Petitions received after these deadlines are included in the next application and interview cycle. Please email the following documents and information to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Name and Banner ID
- Major/Minor and expected graduation date
- Resume of extra-curricular activities within the last 12 months
- Including but not limited to: Service, Professional Development, Intellectual Achievement, Cultural Sophistication, Engaged Living, or Skill Development
- Future plans at UTSA and post-graduation
- Statement explaining why joining Honors is important to you and why you’ll be able to complete the program as laid out in our curriculum.
- Unofficial Transcript pdf
Students petitioning over 60 hours are strongly recommended to enroll in an Honors seminar in the next available semester. They may request permission via the Honors Course Permission Request Form, available upon receipt of above required information. Enrolling in an Honors Course does not guarantee admission.
The Department of Political Science and Geography recognizes and rewards outstanding student performance by awarding departmental honors. This allows you to explore your major(s) in greater depth by completing either an honors thesis or an honors portfolio. Departmental honors not only exposes you to a close working relationship with faculty mentors and receive recognition for your work. It also allows you to engage in research and develop expertise in a particular area to be featured in your transcripts and diplomas.
What are Departmental Honors & How do I qualify?
The Honors Program of the Department of Political Science and Geography is an opportunity for students who have demonstrated commendable academic performance. The Departmental Honors program is independent from the Honors College and other organizations and is solely administered and granted by the department. In addition to majoring in one of the degrees offered at the Department, you have to meet the following prerequisites in order to qualify for departmental honors:
- overall UTSA grade point average of 3.0
- major-specific grade point average of 3.25
- senior status (minimum of 90 credit hours), and
- recommendation by a faculty member.
How can I receive Departmental Honors?
There is a thesis and a portfolio track available for students pursuing departmental honors. While they differ in their workflow and assignments, both tracks require full and dedicated commitment and have to feature rigorous and high-quality research efforts.
The Honors Thesis is an original research project that will contribute to existing research in the field of inquiry it addresses. The thesis represents a clearly and coherently organized inquiry that frames a question and advances both existing research as well as new insights on the problem or issue it sets out to address as you present credible arguments and evidence to bolster your reasoning and conclusion. Most theses will combine an analysis of theoretical literature with empirical research, although some thesis may focus exclusively on theoretical issues. In formal terms, the thesis is expected to be approximately 30-40 pages in length and of format and quality typical for publishable research. Students applying for Departmental Honors through the thesis track have to enroll in the appropriate honors thesis course (POL/GLA/GRG 4993) during one of their final two semesters of study. A three-member Honors Committee chaired by the supervising faculty adviser will administer your project. The faculty adviser will work with you to develop the thesis and prepare it for its defense. To earn honors, the thesis must be approved by the committee and receive a grade of B or higher.
The portfolio track provides an opportunity to obtain departmental honors by combining research assignments completed in different classes finished with a grade of A- or better. Assignments from any upper-division class may be designated and included in the portfolio as long as they represent a significant research effort involving independent work and have been revised significantly after class completion. In addition to three compiled research assignments (totaling a minimum of 30 pages), you have to submit an additional summary and reflection statement (8 to 10 pages) which assess the individual contributions in light of your goals and experiences as a major seeking Departmental Honors as well as summarizes how they connect to current discussions in the respective field(s). The committee supervising the process is constituted by the faculty involved in the individual assignments and has to consist of at least two different faculty members. One committee member will serve as chair to supervise and administer the project. The faculty adviser will work with you to develop the portfolio and prepare it for its defense. The portfolio is submitted as a PDF document with the critical statement appearing first, followed by the three papers in the order of the student’s choice. To earn honors, the portfolio must be approved by the committee and receive a grade of B or higher.
Timeline, Scheduling & Administration
The overall process of receiving departmental honors is administered by Andrea Aleman (email@example.com), the department’s Undergraduate Advisor of Record (UGAR). She will be your first point of contact. As to your scheduling, you should consider departmental honors by the time you complete your junior year. In order to get the process started, please complete an Honors Petition Form by the end of the semester preceding the intended enrollment in a thesis writing course or submitting your portfolio. This form should include a proposal of a minimum length of 7 pages for the thesis track or a statement of intent outlining the different assignments included in the portfolio. At the same time, you need to identify a faculty adviser as well as other members of the committee. Once completed, you submit your thesis or portfolio before the first Friday in April (Spring graduation) or November (Fall graduation). The committee chair will then schedule a defense prior to the last regular week of class before the end of the month. Based on the submitted work and the defense, the committee chair prepares a report and the committee collectively decides whether departmental honors shall be granted or not.
You can download the student handout containing these information here.