Honours Program

The School of Politics and International Relations is home to one of the best political science and international relations programs in the world. The distinctive, world-leading program befits its place in the ANU, which is an institution dedicated to research-led education. This page sets out the opportunities for, and distinctive features of, the Honours programs in the School of Politics and International Relations.

Degree Programs

The School of Politics and International Relations offers six Honours programs:

The successful completion of all Honours programs require a minimum of one year of study (up to two years in case of part-time studies) and students are required to submit a thesis of no more than 20,000 words. For more detailed information about entry requirements for the Honours programs, please refer to the “Admission” tab on the individual program’s websites (or follow the links above).

Interested students can find more information (e.g. part-time options, general expectations etc.) in the 2020 Honours and Masters Guide.

Teaching Researchers

Our training program enables our Honours students to undertake an in-depth research project at undergraduate level under the close supervision of academic staff. The School of Politics and International Relations provides a supportive environment and programs that encourages new modes of research while also supporting traditional scholarly methods of inquiry.

The key element of our graduate program is its intense focus on the unique research-led education culture at the ANU. Our guiding assumption is that the best way to produce academic researchers is to incorporate them into a culture of academic research. This research culture is made possible by two things in particular: the culture of political science with its intensive focus on discussion and debate, and the culture of the ANU, with its focus on research-led education. Some elements of our research culture include our weekly research seminars, monthly politics and international relations works-in-progress workshops, and the presence of a large number of international and national luminaries who are present on campus as visiting fellows.

The School of Politics and International Relations invites Honours students to take an active role in this research culture, and all Honours students are encouraged to attend the research seminars.

Finding a Supervisor

It is incumbent on applicants to identify and contact potential Honours supervisors. We encourage applicants to view the research profiles of the School’s faculty to identify supervisors who work in the area of the students’ interest. Visit this page to view all the members of faculty.

Once an applicant has identified a potential supervisor, the applicant should contact the supervisor via email, stating that they are interested in Honours studies, outlining their area of interest and proposed topic, and asking whether the faculty member is willing to supervise them. If an applicant is unsure about how to contact a potential supervisor they should contact the Honours Convenor via spir.honours.cass@anu.edu.au or directly [find out the Convenor of the specific Honours programs here].

Honours Progression

Upon matriculation into an Honours program with the School of Politics and International Relations students will be invited to the annual Honours Induction Program.

The induction will welcome students to the School and to the University, introduce the faculty of the School, and familiarise students with their opportunities and responsibilities. It also includes social events that allow new students to meet the other students, faculty and support staff who comprise the School community. The Induction Program usually occurs during February.


All Honours students in the School of Politics and International Relations are required to undertake three courses at the Honours level. The course grades make up 50 percent of the final Honours grade. There is one compulsory course: POLS4011 (12 units). The remaining two courses (6 units each) are electives from a program specific list (see “Study” tab in the respective Honours program)

The Thesis Preview

In accordance with the rules within the School of Politics and International Relations, all Honours students must present a thesis proposal to the School’s academic staff, before the second semester of full-time study. The Thesis Preview is meant to help students prepare more effectively for their thesis: they can expect to receive helpful feedback from experienced SPIR staff as well as learn useful decision making and argumentation strategies from other Honours students. The Thesis Preview is an integral part of the Honours program and a central opportunity for our students to benefit from the School’s research culture.


Further information can be found at:

For further information, please contact the Honours Convenor spir.honours.cass@anu.edu.au

Updated:  26 October 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications