Political Science Department

Senior Projects

What is the senior project? It is your chance, over two terms in your senior year and guided by a faculty advisor, to pursue your passion for politics on an independent basis. A way to build on and then go beyond what you’ve learned in your classes. A time to challenge yourself. The senior project should be your crowning achievement, the high point of the time you have spent studying politics at Union College.

What type of senior project can you undertake? The political science faculty encourages you to think broadly and imaginatively in crafting a senior project. Keep in mind that senior projects can take a variety of forms. Most political science seniors research and write a multi-chapter thesis, which combines review of existing research with original research. Thesis topics vary tremendously across and within all of the subfields of political science.

Each year, a few political science seniors opt for a different type of research project to fulfill their senior project requirement. Some examples include:

  • Applied Political Research: draft a report for a local, state, or national organization. Working with an organization, identify a research project then conduct the research and present your findings in the form of a report.
  • Political Action Project: organize a political movement; form an interest group to fight for a cause; help run a political campaign for a local office-seeker; start a blog or a website devoted to a cause.
  • Creative Work: write a political screenplay or novel; organize an exhibition of original political photography; make a documentary movie.

These are only examples. The possibilities are endless. We want you to develop an idea that will be meaningful to you and that you can be passionate about. This is, after all, a project that you will spend at least six months of your life working on. Choose something you care deeply about.

The senior thesis offers you a wonderful opportunity for intellectual and personal growth; in return it puts considerable responsibility on your shoulders.