Since 1995, Pi Sigma Alpha has reviewed submissions of class papers and honors theses from student members and selected winners and runners up based on criteria such as importance and relevance of the topic, originality of research, methodology, and overall quality of writing.
Past winners of these contests have further pursued careers in academic research, public policy, and public service, as well as numerous other paths.
View all past winners here.
Each year in early spring, Pi Sigma Alpha puts out a call for submissions for both categories. The submission deadline is June 1. Each chapter may nominate one undergraduate class paper and one undergraduate honors thesis for this contest, and the submission must be emailed to the national office by the chapter advisor. Authors must be Pi Sigma Alpha members.
A committee of Pi Sigma Alpha chapter advisors review the submissions with names and institution names redacted, and a winner and two runners up for each category are selected and notified by August. The first place prize is $250 and runners up receive $100 each.
Awardees are strongly encouraged to submit their papers to the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics to be considered for publication. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.