Information for Graduating Seniors

Declare Your PBPL Specialization Sequence  

Declare your specialization sequence by the end of your 3rd year.  For more information on specialization courses please see "Areas of Specialization" on the Public Policy website or click on the link below.                                                 Areas of Specialization

BA Paper FAQs

When are the BA Paper drafts due? 

The various BA-related due dates for the Spring 2018 graduating class are:

  • Polished BA draft: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 5 PM 
  • BA Symposium: Saturday, March 31, 2018
  • Final BA Paper: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 5 PM 

If you are planning to graduate prior to Spring quarter please contact the Public Policy Administrator for those BA draft due dates.  

Am I required to link my area of specialization to my BA paper topic?

The area of specialization is best used as a foundation for your BA thesis research --but this relationship is not required. 

Who can serve as a 2nd reader/faculty reader for the Public Policy BA paper?

  1. all University of Chicago Faculty
  2. Harper-Schmidt Collegiate Assistant Professors
  3. University of Chicago Lecturers
  4. University of Chicago Graduate Students (approved on a case by case basis)
  5. Faculty from other colleges or universities (approved on a case by case basis)

What is the Public Policy BA Symposium? 

The Public Policy BA Symposium is an all-day event occurring early in Spring quarter. Students present their BA research project to their fellow students and faculty in Public Policy. This year's symposium is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 3015, 9-5 PM.  

How does my preceptor and reader evaluate my BA paper?

Your BA paper is read by your preceptor, 2nd reader/faculty adviser who evaluates your paper as 1) acceptable; 2) not acceptable: or 3) acceptable with an honors recommendation.  

How do I graduate with special honors in Public Policy?

To graduate with special honors in public policy you need: 1) an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher; and 2) write an honors BA paper. 

Are second readers required for public policy honors BA papers?

No.  A second reader/faculty adviser is beneficial for providing additional support for your BA thesis work, but they are not required to receive honors for your BA paper. All public policy BA papers are eligible for honors whether or not students work with a second reader.  Students have successfully graduated with special honors in public policy without having a 2nd reader/faculty adviser. 

Students having second readers are required to complete the Second Reader Information and Confirmation form. This form is due to the student's preceptor around the middle of winter quarter. Please contact your preceptor for the exact due date for the form. 

General Expectations for the Public Policy BA Paper

BA papers should be more comprehensive in both information gathering and analysis than a term paper. You may use secondary sources, analyze existing data sets, or collect your own data or information. The emphasis is on developing a good policy question, settling on an appropriate methodology and utilizing analytical tools to answer the policy question. All public policy majors are required to take PBPL 29800, the BA writing seminar, in the fall quarter of their senior year.  

Double majors may petition to waive one of their majors' BA seminar/collquium requirement. 

Besides PBPL 29800, students can sign up for up to two quarters (typically the winter and spring quarters in the final year) of PBPL 29900, an independent study course taken under the direction of a faculty member that is designed to provide support for the BA writing process for students working on their BA theses. Generally the faculty member directing the 29900 class would be the student’s preceptor or 2nd reader/faculty adviser.  The precise requirements and grading standards of a PBPL 29900 course are agreed upon between the student and the participating faculty. See the section below, reading and research courses for registration information for these courses.

The BA drafts are due:

  • Polished draft: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 5 PM 
  • BA Symposium: Saturday, March 31, 2018, 5 PM
  • Final draft: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 5 PM

Public Policy BA papers are required to contain all the sections spelled out in the BA Paper checklist and formatted accordingly. This includes a title page that lists the date of submission of your paper along with your preceptor  and second reader names. Please review the link below for details on the required sections and formatting for public policy BA papers. 

BA Paper Checklist and Formatting

In general, a senior paper should be more comprehensive in both information gathering and analysis than a term paper. You may use secondary sources, analyze existing data sets, or collect your own data or information. The emphasis is on developing a good policy question, settling on an appropriate methodology and utilizing analytical tools to answer the policy question. No B.A. paper is complete without a title page, the BA checklist items, proper formatting and a conclusion that addresses the initial policy question. 

Honors Papers & Honors Eligibility

To be eligible for honors, students must satisfy 2 requirements:

  • Have an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher to be considered eligible for special honors initially
  • Complete a BA thesis judged acceptable (grade of A or A-) with an honors recommendation

 Public Policy's Reading and Research Courses

Public Policy has 3 reading courses:

  • PBPL 29600 for a policy-related internship
  • PBPL 29700 for a general reading course
  • PBPL 29900 for the Public Policy  BA paper

These courses all require consent to register.  Consent is obtained by completing the College Reading and Research Course Form and obtaining signatures from a faculty person (or preceptor) and the Public Policy director.  The R&R course forms are obtained from the College adviser or the advisers desk on the 2nd floor of Harper Library.  These courses receive letter-quality grades only.