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College of Social Sciences

The Honors Program

The Honors Program in the College of Social Sciences (COSS) provides students with an opportunity to gain research experience, receive recognition as an honors scholar, and receive one-on-one mentoring with faculty who are experts in their respective fields.

The Honors Program includes two semesters of rigorous specialized course work beginning in the Fall semester and culminating with the completion of an Honors Research Paper/Project the following Spring semester. Courses must be taken in this sequence and students will only be admitted for the Fall semester. Not all applicants will be selected into this highly competitive program. Students who are accepted into the COSS Honors Program will receive priority registration while they remain in the program. College of Social Sciences Honors Scholars who successfully complete the program will earn an honors medallion to commemorate their success and will be recognized in the College of Social Sciences Convocation in May.

Participation in the College of Social Sciences Honors Program does not preclude participation in other honors programs at Fresno State.

*Students in the Honors Program will get priority registration*

In order to qualify for consideration for the College of Social Sciences Honors Program, students must:

1. Have a cumulative and major GPA of 3.5 or higher

2. Have completed at least 75 units before beginning the program and have at least one year of school left at Fresno State.

3. Be currently enrolled in, have already completed, or will enroll in a research methods course in the Fall 2023 semester at Fresno State, preferably in your major, and earn at least a B grade in this course. (Note: If you take the methods course in the Fall 2023 semester, a B is required to remain in the COSS Honors program in the Spring 2024 semester). Possible research methods courses include, but are not limited to:

  • AFRS 135: The African American Community
  • ANTH 100: Concepts and Applications
  • ANTH 101: Introductory Fieldwork in Archaeology
  • ANTH 111: Ethnographic Fieldwork
  • CFS    153: Research Methods
  • CLAS 142: Research Methods
  • CRIM 170: Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CRIM 170H: Honors Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • GEOG 141, GIS I: Data Display and Manipulation
  • HIST 100W: Historical Research and Writing
  • PLSI 90: Methods of Analysis of Quantitative Political Data and one of the following:
    • PLSI 120: International Politics
    • PLSI 140: Approaches to Comparative Politics
    • PLSI 150: Public Policy Making
  • SOC 175: Quantitative Research Methods
  • SOC 176: Qualitative Research Methods
  • WS 153: Feminist Research Methods

If you are interested and you meet all of the above requirements, we encourage you to apply for the College of Social Sciences Honors Program by March 1, 2023 by 5:00 pm PDT.

Apply by fillng out Google Form here and attached required documents: 

  • Your name and student ID
  • Cumulative and major GPA
  • Number of units you will complete by the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester
  • Expected graduation date
  • Status of the research methods class
  • A copy of your unofficial transcripts
  • Personal Statement: Please provide a brief statement (three paragraphs, 250 words max in total for all three paragraphs) indicating (1) why you would like to participate in the COSS Honors Program, (2) how it might help advance your personal, educational, and/or career goals, and (3) what topics you are interested in working on. You may wish to also indicate how any research or research methods courses you have taken may help you to succeed in this course.

Deadline: Please complete the application here by March 1, 2023 by 5 pm.

You will be notified via email if you are admitted into the COSS Honors Program. Please remember this is a two course sequence (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024). Students must register for the 3-unit course Fall 2023 course - SSCI101H, “Social Science Honors I.” This course features research talks by Social Science faculty and student development of a research proposal. Permission numbers for this course will be distributed during the summer after verification of a 3.5 GPA after completion of the Spring 2023 semester. To complete the program, students will be required to enroll in a second 3-unit "Social Science Honors Symposium" course in Spring 2024 (course number including days/times are not yet finalized). All students enrolled in this course will be expected to produce a research paper to be delivered at an appropriate academic conference and/or at the Social Science Honors Research Symposium on campus at the culmination of the Spring 2024 semester.

*One-year program requirements for successful completion*

Fall Semester:

Once Admitted into the College of Social Sciences Honors Program, you must register for a 3-unit course, SSCI 101H: "Social Science Honors Research Series." This "Research Series" will feature social science faculty who will share their insights and experiences in research in a broad range of social sciences. You will also begin design of your own research projects, identify a faculty research mentor , discuss your research with your peers, and complete a research proposal.

Spring Semester

Students who earned an A grade in SSCI 101H and have maintained a 3.5 overall and major GPA or better will be able to take the second 3-unit course of the Social Science Honors Program SSCI 102H: "Social Science Honors II" in the spring semester. All students enrolled in this course will be expected to produce an Honors research paper/thesis to deliver at an appropriate academic conference and/or at a Social Science Honors Research Symposium at the culmination of the Spring semester in which you are enrolled in the course.

Contact Information:

If you have further questions, please e-mail Dr. Annabella Espana-Najera at

For More Information:

Please Contact:
Office of the Dean
College of Social Sciences