Students who wish to complete an original research thesis, driven by student-defined interests and independent work, may apply to the Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program in the spring of junior year. The Departmental Honors Program is an optional research experience that is distinct from the Public Affairs Experiential Learning Capstone Series requirement (PUB AFF 187 A, B, C).

Theses must involve answering a research question using original analyses of data/sources. Students who are admitted to the program begin background research for their project over the summer and enroll in three contract research courses (PA 198A, B, C) with their Luskin thesis advisor during their senior year. The sequence must be completed over three consecutive quarters, starting in the fall. Students must earn at least a B in PA 198A to continue with the sequence. Students may count one honors contract course toward their Public Affairs major elective requirement (with the understanding that no more than one contract course in total may count toward the Public Affairs elective requirement).



Qualifications


Students must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply to the Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program:

  • Senior standing by the beginning of the fall quarter in which PA 198A is taken.
  • Overall minimum Public Affairs Major GPA of 3.60, as of the end of winter quarter in the year prior to beginning the thesis.
  • Completion of PA 115 (quantitative methods) by the end of spring quarter in the year prior to beginning the thesis, with at least an A- (strongly recommended but waived as an eligibility requirement for the class of ’21)
  • Completion of PA 116 (qualitative methods) by the end of spring quarter in the year prior to beginning the thesis, with at least an A- (strongly recommended but waived as an eligibility requirement for the class of ’21).
  • Agreement from faculty member to serve as thesis advisor.

The Public Affairs Honors Committee will select applicants based on the promise of their proposed research project, its match with faculty interests, research-related coursework, and research experience. The selection process is very competitive, with the number of selected applicants varying each year. We anticipate that no more than 10% of rising seniors will be selected to complete honors thesis projects each year.

The Public Affairs Honors Committee, with input from thesis advisors, will determine whether students’ theses merit honors or highest honors. Students who earn honors or highest honors for their theses may note this honor on their resumes. Students who also meet the minimum major GPA requirement will receive Departmental Honors on their UCLA transcript.



Application Process


To apply, students must submit an application containing a short research proposal, information on academic and research preparation, and confirmation that a Luskin School faculty member has agreed to advise their honors thesis during the fall, winter, and spring of the subsequent year.

The 2021-2022 Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program application process opens on Friday, April 30, 2021. Below are the program deadlines:

  • Beginning April 30, 2021: Access and download the 2021-2022 Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program application here.
  • Friday, May 14, 2021 at 5pm (PST): Deadline to ask a faculty member to advise your thesis by emailing them and attaching the preliminary application. You can access the list of faculty members here.
  • Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:59pm (PST): Deadline for your thesis advisor to sign your final application.
  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 5pm (PST): Deadline to submit your final application to Jocelyn Guihama via email.


Important Dates


The 2021-2022 Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program application process opens on Friday, April 30, 2021. You can access the 2021-2022 Public Affairs Departmental Honors Program application here and the list of faculty members here. The timeline below should be used as a general guide for the application cycle.

Questions? Contact the Public Affairs Undergraduate Advising Office via MyUCLA Message Center or at 310-794-4080.


  • Friday, May 14, 2021 at 5pm (PST)

    Deadline to ask a faculty member to advise your thesis by sending an email and attaching the preliminary application. You can access the list of faculty members here.

  • Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:59pm (PST)

    Deadline to have your thesis advisor sign your final application.

    Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:59pm (PST)

  • Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 5pm (PST)

    Deadline to submit your final application to Jocelyn Guihama via email.

  • End of Spring Quarter

    Public Affairs Honors Committee selects Honors Thesis Cohort and notifies both student and advisor.

    End of Spring Quarter

  • Summer

    Selected students and faculty advisors meet to discuss project and summer expectations.

  • Fall Quarter

    Students enroll in PUB AFF 198A if faculty advisor is satisfied with student’s summer work.

    Fall Quarter