Distinguished Majors Program

The Department of Politics offers a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) as an advanced program for students who major in Government or Foreign Affairs. The program provides qualified majors with the opportunity to pursue in-depth research on issues related to the major. Students in the DMP take one more upper-level course in the Department than other majors and write a thesis under close faculty supervision during the year in which they are graduating (typically their fourth year). Participants in the program meet regularly throughoutthat year to discuss progress on their theses.

The standards for admission, program requirements, and the procedure for evaluation are outlined below.

Informational Meeting

Potential applicants are invited but not required to attend an informational meeting about the program at 5 pm on Monday, March 13, 2017 in Room 309, New Cabell Hall.

Admission to the Program

Unless they intend to graduate early, students apply to the program in the spring of the third year. Students wishing to join the program should first declare a major in the Department, either in Government or Foreign Affairs. Students seeking admission to the DMP should be on track to graduate with Departmental and University grade point averages of 3.4 or above.

Students are encouraged to complete a research methods course, such as PLAD 2222 or PLAP 4300, before the start of the DMP year.  Applicants who have completed or enrolled in such a course by the time of their application will be given preference in the selection process.

DMP application materials should be emailed to Prof. Pete Furia at furia@virginia.edu no later than 5PM on Friday, April 7th, 2017. Application materials should include the following:

  • An unofficial copy of your most recent transcript.
  • A three-page (double-spaced) statement explaining your proposed research topic, as well any relevant abilities that you plan to utilize in conducting that research.  The admissions committee will look particularly favorably upon applications that propose a preliminary research question, explain why that research question is of personal and general interest, and discuss practicable methods of answering the question over the course of your thesis year.
  • A one-page list of works relevant to your proposed research question or topic.
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation by faculty members submitted directly to the DMP faculty director, Prof. Pete Furia (furia@virginia.edu).  At least one of these letters should be from among Politics faculty.  Try to familiarize your recommenders with your proposed research so that they might comment on its significance and on your competence to undertake it.
Deadline

Declared Politics majors should submit complete application files to Pete Furia no later than 5 PM on Friday, April 7th, 2017. Special arrangements may be made for outstanding transfer students on an ad hoc basis. The admissions committee will begin reviewing files immediately, with the hope of notifying students of decisions by April 16th.

Politics Requirements

Students in the DMP must maintain grade point averages of 3.4 or better, both cumulatively and in the department.

Requirements of the DMP

Students in the DMP must take at least 30 hours in the major. These 30 hours must include:

  • At least twelve hours at the 4000 or 5000 levels (including the six credit hours for the DMP Seminar itself – i.e., PLAD 4960 & PLAD 4961).
  • Courses to satisfy general departmental distribution rules for Government or Foreign Affairs majors.
The DMP Seminar

In the fall semester, members of the DMP will meet regularly to discuss issues related to conceptualizing, researching, and writing social-science theses. In the spring semester, members of the DMP will present their preliminary hypotheses and findings to the seminar.

The DMP Thesis

Students in the DMP are required to write a thesis of high quality, earning six credits, during the fourth year. The thesis seminar, PLAD 4960/PLAD 4961, is a year-long course, carrying six credit hours, with the option of taking the first three credits credit/no credit. Students are responsible for obtaining a faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor for both semesters of the course.

Complete first drafts of theses are typically due during the last week of March.  The final deadline for completed theses, reflecting all revisions, is typically in the third week of April, on a date set each year by the director.

Program Evaluations

Students who successfully complete the requirements of the DMP will be evaluated based on the following: (1) quality of the thesis, (2) overall work in major field of study, (3) overall College record.

Faculty thesis readers will forward evaluations to the Department's DMP faculty director, who will review the evaluations and students' records, and forward recommendations to the College Committee on Special Programs.

Superior theses will be nominated by faculty advisors for the Emmerich-Wright Prize, which is given annually to the outstanding thesis.

Where can I find the official academic requirements for the University?

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.

Questions

Please direct questions not answered above to Prof. Pete Furia at furia@virginia.edu.

Recent DMP Theses

** Emmerich Wright Prize Winners

2016-2017

Anderson, Kara
Islamic Behavioral Radicalization on U.S. Soil: An Analysis of the Profile of Terror and the Generational Divide

Boisjolie, Rachel
The Knowledge Question: Predictors of Political Knowledge in the European Union

Brooks, Brandon
Media Constraints on Wartime Decision-Making:The Other CNN Effect

Gates, Madeline
Judicial Vacancies and the Quality of Judicial Decisions on U.S.Federal District Courts

Griff, Clara
Food Deserts and Food Swamps: An Analysis of Rural Central Virginia Food Insecurity

Gutmann, April
When Hostility Takes Over: Sexism in the 2016 Presidential Election

Hensel, Pascal
Defying the State: How Executive Constraint and State Capacity Affect Pro-Government Militias

Jacobs, Aaron
The Structure of Machine Politics in Virginia, 1930-1965:
An Analysis of Harry Byrd, His Organization, and Byrd’s Correspondence

Keach, Madeleine
Illegal, or Inconvenient? A Comparative Approach to Understanding Central American Asylum Claims

Pulliza, Lucas
A Qualitative Analysis of Presidential Convention Acceptance Speeches from 1960-2016: The Slow Drift Towards Incivility since the 1980s within Presidential Campaign Rhetoric

Wang, Yule
Sowing Uncertainty: Examining Chinese Internet Users' Self-Censorship Under Government Media Control**

Warren, Brett
Make America Remember Again: Media Coverage of 1940s Japanese vs. 21st Century Muslims

2015-2016

Blair, Christopher
Divergent Trajectories: The Origins of Institutional Capacity and Economic Development in De Facto States

Burden, Jack
Napoleon in Rags: Left-Wing Israeli Civil Society Recruitment in the Era of Neo-Liberalization

Giorno, Taylor
Breaking Through the Echo Chamber: Understanding Factors that Hinder the Enactment of the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking (UAPRHT)**

Koolman, Porter
Terrorism and the State: The Implications of State Capacity for Terrorist Groups and Alliance Networks

MacDonnell, Patrick
Binding the Republican Party to the Mast: Conservative Ideological Enforcement and Countering the Siren Calls of Liberalism

Myers, Emma
Será bom para nós e será bom para África: Brazilian diplomatic discourse in Africa

Pritchard, Bethany
In Ten Seconds or Less: Snapchat and Campaign Discourse

Winkler, Sandra
Lessons from Ukraine: Reevaluating Russian Foreign Policy Frameworks

2014-2015

Beeber, Zev Gershon
Examining the Motivational Impacts of Terrorism on Political Leaders: A Thematic Content Analysis of Israeli Political Discourse before and after Terrorist Attacks

Blusiewicz, Jessica Nicole
Multiparty Civil Wars**

Bondoa, Fritz N.
21st Century Mentoring Programs for Black Males: An Analysis of the Principles that Mentoring Programs Promote

Colalillo, Ben Joseph
Outside Spending in U.S. Congressional Campaigns: 2000-2014

Comey, Matthew Lyman
The Politics of Mixed-Income Housing Development: Why American Localities Pursue Policies That Facilitate the Intermingling Of Low-Income and Higher-Income Residents

Ducharme, Madeline Jane
Demographics and Party Preference in the 21st Century

Godbold, Tristan Henry Alaric
Alliances and Hegemony

Kincaid, Matthew James
Advice and Consent in a “Nuclear Senate:” The Historical and Statistical Effects of Filibuster Reform

Korban, Emilie Josette
Transitional Justice, Public Opinion and Trust: A Study of the Effect of Increased Knowledge on Public Attitudes towards Trust and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

Noronha, Gabriel Luke
Life is Easy between a Rock and a Hard Place: Omni-leveraging and the Effects of Great Power Rivalry on Small States

Shreve, Emma Elizabeth
Civil Legal Aid in the United States: An Examination of its Structure, Emerging Service Strategies, and the Efficacy of Non-monetary Reform

2013-2014

Alley, Katlyn Marie
She’ in Shar’ia: Rape and Marriage in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Bentall, Nia Leanne
No More Mistress, No More Maid, No More Work That’s Underpaid!” Domestic Worker Organizing Groups and Representation

Chia, Shang Hui
Evaluating Explanations for Applications of Preventive Detention Laws: A Study of the Use of the Internal Security Act in Singapore and Malaysia

Gruber, Samuel Joseph
Implementing Party-State Democracy in China: An Analysis of Existing Policy Measures and Potential Reforms

Hadford, Christina Elizabeth
Family Unfriendly: How Paid Parental Leave and Subsidized Day Care Impact American Mothers

Johnson, Erica B.
Reevaluating The Troubles: Quantifying the Relationship between the IRA, Sinn Féin, and Voter Preferences in Northern Ireland, 1969-1998

Luckey, Taylor Leah
Perceptions of Decline Among American Elites: Charting Declinist Sentiment 1913-Present

Sease, Kasey Marie
John C. Calhoun and Majority Tyranny: An Exploration of a Theoretical Problem in American Politics

Strubler III, Albert Daniel
Redistribution and the Welfare State: An Econometric Approach to Public Social Expenditure and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries From 1983-2009**

Swick, Melanie Amy
From Domestic to Transnational: Explaining the Strategic Shifts of Non-State Actors

Tosun, Leyla Mariam
Oil, Public Service Provision and Regime Instability: A cross-sectional analysis of the Middle East and North Africa, 1990-2011

2012-2013

Ballagh, Victoria
Measuring Partisanship Trends in the Changing News Media Landscape

Belberova, Radina
Accounting for Intervention Variation in Libya and Darfur: Threshold, Scale and Motivation

Cahill, Andrew
Can Google Docs Support the Global Economy? A Study of the Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Economic Growth and Productivity

Carullo, Nicholas
India and China: Conflict, Cooperation or Both?

Carrigan, Samuel
What's So Special About Drones? Illegality, Inefficiency and Blowback

DiCocco, Alexandra
Kazakhstan’s Multi-Vector Foreign Policy: Trends in Relations with Russia, the West, and China

Gallogly, Owen
A Point of Privilege: The History, Consequences, and Future of the Supreme Court’s Privileges or Immunities Jurisprudence

Hopkins, Rachel
Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia: A Comparison Study of the Second Kashmir War and the Kargil Conflict

Reid, Ann
Incentive and Opportunity: Examining Variations in Party Aggregation Success During the Egyptian Parliamentary Elections of 2011

Roos, Eileen
Church and State in Russia: An Analysis of the Russian Orthodox Church as a Lobbying Institution

Snail, Melanie
The Long Revolution: Prospects for Algerian Democratization**