Departmental Honors

The Departmental Honors Program in International Development Studies

General Program Information

The International Development Studies Departmental Honors Program was created to offer highly motivated students the opportunity to design and conduct their own independent research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The honors program consists of a three-quarter, directed-study series of courses (Directed Study for Honors: IDS 198A, 198B, & 198C) culminating in an honors thesis.

Throughout the three quarters, students will work closely with their faculty advisor who will guide them through the various phases of the student's research. At the end of the third quarter, students will submit a thesis to their faculty advisor for final review. Note that the thesis is intended to be quite substantial in its scholarship— between 40 to 60 pages of text in length (not including title page, bibliography, appendices, etc.).

Departmental Honors or Departmental Highest Honors designation on the transcript and diploma will be awarded upon successful completion of the program.

Course Descriptions:

IDS 198A is to be devoted to discussion and planning of the honors thesis, as well as a literature review, and will carry four units of credit and is to be taken for a letter grade. This should culminate in a 10-15 page literature review. IDS 198A may count as an elective for the major (Part 4), either as a regional or thematic elective as decided by the Chair of IDS.

IDS 198B is used for further literature review, as well as research investigation and data collection, culminating in a 12-15 page outline of the thesis, including a brief introduction, major arguments, and discussion of the evidence or data. This course will be graded as “In Progress” only.

IDS 198C, which culminates in a submitted thesis, is to be taken for a letter grade and carries eight (8.0) units of credit for both the 198B & 198C courses combined.  Note that students receive credit and grading for the second (IDS 198B) and third (IDS 198C) quarters only when the thesis is completed and submitted.  IDS 198B and 198C constitute work over and above the regular requirements for the International Development Studies major, and thus do not count towards any requirements for the IDS major.  The units will go towards overall units for the degree, however.


To participate in the International Development Studies Honors Program, students must have fulfilled the following prerequisites:

  • Be officially declared IDS major
  • Completion of IDS 110 and IDS M120, or 110 and 130, or M120 and 130
  • GPA for all Upper Division coursework for the IDS major must be at least 3.50
  • Must have secured a faculty advisor
  • Submit the IDS Honors Application

Procedures for Participation:

IDS Honors Application and Guidelines.

Graduate Thesis Titles:

To give a sense of the kind of research past students have done, here is a list of thesis titles from recent IDS graduates who participated in the Honors program:

  • Government Capacity for Facilitating Economic Growth in Post-Liberation South Sudan: Challenges and Opportunities
  • A Historical Perspective of Women’s Property Rights in Singapore
  • Marginalizing Civil Society: Implications for Chilean Democracy
  • Chinese Presence in Africa: Trade, Investment, Diplomatic and Cultural Ties
  • The Role of Music in the Development of Brazil and Chile during the 1960’s through the 1980’s

Complete list of IDS Honors Theses​

 Research Assistance

IDS Library Resource Guide 

Writing Assistance

IDS Writing Mentorship  Program    (available in Winter and Spring)

College Inquiry Labs

CPO Writing Success Program

Undergraduate Writing Center