Why choose PSCI 4908 – Honours Research Essay?

PSCI 4908 – The Honours Research Essay (HRE) provides Honours students with an opportunity to conceptualize and execute an independent research project, under the supervision of a Political Science faculty member. The project will result in a major essay that is assessed by the supervisor and an appointed second reader. Since PSCI 4908 an independent project course, undertaking it requires students to be strongly self-motivated and to have excellent time management skills.

PSCI 4908 is a full [1.0] credit course that normally runs over two academic terms (Fall/Winter, or Early/Late Summer). It’s open to fourth-year Honours students in Political Science with a CGPA of 9.0 or higher. The grade for the HRE is based entirely on the quality of the final essay, as assessed by the supervisor and the second reader. A minimum passing grade of B- is required to gain credit for PSCI 4908.


Students wishing to pursue the HRE are responsible for independently identifying and contacting a regular faculty member in the Department of Political Science to supervise the HRE. Faculty from other disciplines may supervise the HRE if approved by the Undergraduate Supervisor.

Faculty members accept a small number of students for supervision, so students are strongly advised to approach potential supervisors well in advance (2-3 months) of registering for PSCI 4908. Students should prepare a preliminary proposal for the HRE before approaching a potential supervisor. Essay topics that connect with the academic interests and expertise of potential supervisors will increase the likelihood of a favorable response.


Before students can register in the course, they must obtain permission from the department and agreement from a Faculty member to supervise the HRE. Permission will be given to students who meet the eligibility requirements and have completed the HRE Supervision Consent Form.

The PSCI 4908 course outline provides detailed information about the HRE, including eligibility, course requirements, deadlines and forms, and can be found on our Course Outlines page.

More Information

The Department normally hosts an HRE information session for interested Third Year Honours students in the Winter term. The date of the information session is announced early in the Winter term.

For more information about the HRE, please contact the Undergraduate Program Administrator.