purple medal sitting on treeAbout the Honors Program

Students in the International Affairs Program have the opportunity to graduate with departmental honors with three grades: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Honors are awarded by the University Honors Council on the basis of: overall academic record, performance in the writing of an honors thesis, and performance in an oral exam. Candidates for honors in International Affairs must have achieved at least a 3.3 overall grade point average and a 3.4 grade point average in International Affairs courses. Please refer to our IAFS honors standards for more information. The Honors Program Director is Dr. Douglas Snyder.

Each candidate for International Affairs departmental honors must complete an honors thesis written in close consultation with a faculty member whose serves as the thesis advisor. A one-hour oral exam is also administered by a three member faculty committee consisting of: 1) IAFS Honors Program Director; 2) primary thesis advisor; 3) at least one other CU professor. We encourage you to select a primary advisor from the IAFS Faculty Committee. If not your primary advisor, a member of the IAFS Faculty Committee should still be on your thesis committee. Graduate students are not permitted to serve on a thesis faculty committee. More information about determining an advisor is below in the How to Apply section of this webpage.

How to Apply

To apply for the honors class IAFS 4800 in the fall:

The deadline to submit your application for the Fall 2022 honors class is Friday, March 4, 2022 at 5:00pm MST. 

Students pursuing honors in International Affairs are required to complete the honors in International Affairs seminar IAFS 4800 in the fall semester and thesis writing class IAFS 4810 in the spring semester. IAFS 4810 may count towards your geographic concentration or functional area if the thesis topic is relevant. Students need not take the seminar and/or write the honors thesis in the year that you graduate. 

Outstanding IAFS Honors Theses

Every year, IAFS honors program undergraduate students present phenomenal, high-level research theses. Below, we have some of our most outstanding IAFS honors theses. You are welcome to browse through and read one, and be in touch if you'd like more information on these topics or their authors.

IAFS Honors Thesis Database

IAFS is proud of all the Honors Thesis submitted and defended. To see the wide range of topics and research completed by all IAFS honors students, you can visit the CU Library database of IAFS Honors Thesis

Resources for Honors Students

The Honors Program Office is located in Norlin M400, phone: 303-492-6617. Honors students -- know your guidelines and deadlines! Check with the Honors Program website for a list of deadlines for graduating with honors.

Human Research Committee (HRC) - All research involving human participants that is conducted by UCB faculty, staff or students must receive some level of review by the Human Research Committee. Information, instructions, and downloadable forms needed to complete the review process can be found on their site.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) - UROP funds undergraduate research, scholarly and creative work with several types of grants. Apply early! More information and application process can be found on their site.

It is never too early to start speaking with professors about your proposed topic. However, before you formally ask someone to be your thesis primary faculty advisor, you must have a very concrete understanding of the topic. You should have a specific question in mind instead of telling a professor that you want to write something on "Europe," for example. Ideally, the honors director would want all students to have an advisor in place by early October of the fall semester they are enrolled in IAFS 4800.

Your thesis faculty committee may be made up of professors from any department at CU Boulder. It is up to an individual faculty member how many advisees s/he will take. Graduate students may not serve on honors thesis committees. The committee will include the IAFS Honors Director, a primary faculty advisor, and one more faculty member. It is strongly recommended student refer to the International Affairs Committee for a primary faculty advisor. If a member of the International Affairs Committee is not your primary advisor, you should select a member to be the other faculty on your committee. If you click on the faculty's name, you will see their area of expertise and interest.