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Distinction Program

Our distinction program is aimed at students who excel in political science courses.

George W. Bush visits a class

About the Program

Students and faculty hold weekly meetings during which professors or students lead discussions about political science issues, share research or engage in debates over current issues. The program also hosts social events, and when the department hosts speakers on campus, distinction program students have top priority in meeting scholars outside of speaking events.

The distinction program provides more individualized instruction in three areas:

  • Weekly Meetings
    • Programming for these meetings varies, but includes roundtable discussions, faculty research presentations, directed readings and student senior thesis presentations. The meetings provide a small-group setting in which students engage with each other and faculty members to discuss and debate intellectually challenging questions of political import.
  • Capstone in Political Science
    • Capstone is a small class comprising only distinction students in which “big questions” in political science are pondered. The theme of the class is “Dilemmas of Democracy” and different faculty rotate teaching this course.
  • Senior Thesis
    • The senior thesis is NOT a requirement for distinction students; however, those who decide to write a senior thesis work directly with a faculty mentor on this project. It is an outlet for students to conduct original research on a political question of personal interest, to explore the answer empirically and to produce a work of scholarship that embodies the analytical, research and writing skills they have developed over the course of four years.


How to Apply

Upcoming Deadlines

Spring 2024 APPLICATIONS DUE FRIDAY, MARCH 22nd at 5:00 PM

Click here for application



You must meet the following requirements:

  • Willingness and ability to take on extra intellectual challenges
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.25
  • Minimum POSC GPA of 3.5
  • At least 30 total credit hours, with six hours in political science at TCU
  • No grades below B in any political science course
Member Obligations

In order to remain in the program and graduate with Distinction in Political Science, members must:

  • Attend weekly meetings. These meetingds take place at 12pm every Wednesday of the semester. If you cannot attend any meetings one semester (e.g., study abroad, Washington Internship, or other obligations), you must tell the faculty co-chairs in advance. Otherwise, you must attend a minimum of seven meetings over the course of the semester. 
  • Take POSC 20203 (Intro to Political Theory) and POSC 20093 (Scope and Methods). Please note that POSC 20093 requires prior completion of or concurrent enrollment in MATH 10043, MATH 10283 or MATH 10524. The distinction director(s) can waive this requirement in instances of undue hardships: for example, if the applicant has completed all 20000-level classes or if compliance would postpone graduation, among other possible situations. 
  • Take Capstone. Capstone-a small, discussion-based upper level seminar open only to Distinction members- will be offered once each semester. Distinction members typically take Capstone their senior year. If you do not take Capstone, you cannot graduate with Distinction in Political Science. 
  • Attend POSC Department Speaker Events. Occasionally, the POSC department brings in scholars and speakers from other universities. These include the Brown and Green Chair speakers, among others. Distinction students are expected to attend these speaker events.