Honors & Awards


To graduate with departmental honors in Political Science, a student must obtain at least a 3.5 GPA in the major and at least a 3.25 overall GPA. Additionally, students must complete a capstone thesis and submit it to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Normally students compose this thesis as the core requirement for PS 490, the Honors in Political Science course offered each Fall semester;  However, students unable to take PS 490 sometimes may enroll in a section of PS 395 by special arrangement and complete an honors thesis through that course.
 

Vandenbosh Outstanding Senior Political Science Major Award

Each Spring, the Political Science Department gives the Vandenbosch Outstanding Senior Award to a Political Science major graduating that academic year.  The Award honors Prof. Amry Vandenbosch, who chaired the department from 1935 to 1958, retired from active service in 1965, and passed away in 1990. In addition, two or three Finalists are selected by the awards committee from among the short list of Semi-Finalists interviewed for the recognition.  The winners are graduating seniors who best exemplify the qualities associated with Dr. Vandenbosch's long service to the University of Kentucky.  In particular, the awards committee typically takes into account original research, academic excellence, political and governmental engagement, leadership, and service.

Although the Department often invites outstanding seniors to apply for the award, students (especially those who graduated in the previous Fall) are encouraged to self-nominate for the Vandenbosch Award. Nominees must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better, and they must exhibit good moral character and service to the University or to the larger community. They must have graduated or plan to graduate no later than August of the application year.

Students who nominate themselves should submit a resume, and also might wish to submit an optional statement that provides:

  • Basic biographical and educational data
  • Career goals and plans for the future
  • Activity in student organizations; offices held; service to the University of Kentucky or the university community
  • Academic, service or other honors won as an undergraduate
  • Activities or service in the community (Lexington or your hometown) during the period while an undergraduate
  • Employment while an undergraduate
  • Other achievements or activities of interest while an undergraduate, e.g., internships, special courses, papers or creative works, athletic accomplishments, religious activity, or other special circumstances in your life

These materials should be sent to Department Chair Clayton Thyne (1621 POT).  Questions about the award also should be sent to Dr. Thyne.

Pi Sigma Alpha

Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science Undergraduate Honorary Fraternity, is always on the lookout for students interested in becoming members of its nationally-recognized organization. The Delta chapter was the third chapter instituted by Pi Sigma Alpha and has a long and time-honored tradition at the University of Kentucky going back to the early1920's.

For more information regarding how to join, please click here.

Political Science Undergraduate Research Paper Competition

Deadline for 2018: March 28, 2018.

The Political Science Department has two paper competitions: The Crum Award and the Amry and Mary Belle Vandenbosch Award. Listed below are the requirements for each competition, respectively.

Crum Award Entry Criteria:

1) You must be (or have been when the paper was written) an undergraduate student at UK. You do not need to be a political science major.

2) The paper must be the original or revised version of a paper you submitted for a course, seminar or independent study in the calendar year in which you apply. It must have been written only by you.

3) An electronic copy must be submitted to via email to Dr. Ray Block (Ray.Block@uky.edu). There should be no reference to you or other indication of who the author is except on the title page.

4) All papers must be typed, double-spaced with footnotes and bibliography.

5) Acceptable subjects include: political issues, political structures (including courts) and process, political norms, beliefs and thoughts, political philosophy, politics in other nations, international politics, and other matters taught in UK political science courses over the last three semesters.

    The Crum Award entries will be judged by the Undergraduate Program Committee of the Political Science Department. The monetary award will be presented at the Political Science Department's annual dinner. In addition to substance, criteria for evaluation are clarity and style of expository prose, analytical sophistication, conceptual innovativeness, logical structure of argumentation, and use of available evidence. 

    Amry and Mary Belle Vandenbosch Award Criteria:

    1) You must be (or have been during the calendar year in which you apply) an undergraduate political science major or minor at UK.

    2) The paper must be an original piece of work written entirely by you. It can be a paper submitted for a political science course (or HIS 572 or 573) or a revision of such a paper. However, the paper can be written expressly for the award competition.

    3) An electronic copy must be submitted to Dr. Mike Zilis (michael.zilis@uky.edu) via email. They should contain no reference to you or other indication of who the author is except on the title page.

    4) All papers must be typed, double spaced, with footnotes and bibliography.

    5) Acceptable subjects include: constitutional law decisions, constitutional doctrines, the historical development of constitutional law, philosophies of constitutional interpretation, Supreme Court decision-making, the impact of constitutional decisions, the nature of civil liberties, modern civil liberties issues, civil liberties and police, lower court or lawyers, the enforcement of civil liberties guarantees, philosophical issues in civil liberties.

      The Amry and Mary Belle Vandenbosch Award entries will be judged by a committee of professors in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties. The monetary award will be presented at the Political Science Department annual dinner. In addition to substance, the criteria for judgment include clarity and style of expository prose, analytical sophistication, conceptual innovativeness, logical structure of argumentation, and use of available evidence.

      When appropriate, the same paper may be submitted for both The Crum Award and The Amry and Mary Belle Vandenbosch Award.

      Please send Crum submissions by electronic copy to Dr. Ray Block (Ray.Block@uky.edu) and Amry and Mary Belle Vandenbosch submissions by electronic copy to Dr. Mike Zilis (michael.zilis@uky.edu)

      Political Science majors may also be eligible for college, university and nationally competitive awards.

      Click here for more award options.

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