Senior Thesis

The undergraduate Honors thesis is designed to serve as the capstone work to an undergraduate degree and is one means by which students can demonstrate their readiness to join a graduate program. Through the mentorship of a faculty committee, each Honors student will complete a research or creative project to add to the body of knowledge in their given major or minor. Theses can take a variety of forms – from conducting laboratory research or exploring a historical conundrum to arranging a portfolio of original music or writing a novel.


Sophomore Year Checklist

  • Talk with professors to learn their interests and research areas.
  • Lay the groundwork for a potential thesis. Ask the professor or professors with whom you might be interested in working if they have suggestions for appropriate background reading in the discipline, ideas for undergraduate projects, opportunities to work with them in their studio, laboratory, etc. (If you find a professor and decide on a project, you may even be able to get started on the research phase of your thesis at this time.)

Junior Year Checklist

  • Secure a professor to act as your thesis advisor. Your advisor will direct your thesis project. Your advisor should be a professor in your major with whom you can work well. Depending upon the nature of your project, you may need to begin the research project quite early in your Junior year, especially if the project involves significant amounts of field work or laboratory work. (We find this especially true for theses in the sciences.) 
  • Working with your thesis advisor, determine your thesis topic, what will be required to complete the project, and discuss the expectations that you both have for the project.
  • Secure a Second Reader for your thesis. The Second Reader is another professor in your discipline who will read and sign-off on your thesis. The second reader may also help to direct the project. Your second reader should be selected in consultation with your thesis advisor.
  • Begin the required reading and research as recommended by your thesis advisor.

Senior Year, Semester 1 Checklist

  • Complete the data collection portion of your thesis research/creative endeavor. This work is often conducted as an H-option to an existing upper-level course. You should be working closely with your thesis advisor to ensure that you are on track and making progress.

Senior Year, Semester 2 Checklist

  • Enroll in HONR 300.
  • Write up your thesis results, again working carefully with your advisor and second reader to ensure that the paper is appropriate in terms of grammar, style, length, depth, and rigor.
  • Schedule your thesis presentation.
  • Submit full draft of your thesis to your advisor and second reader for feedback.
  • Present your thesis.
  • Submit final draft of your thesis to advisor and second reader for final approval.
  • Submit approved final draft of your thesis to the Honors Director.
  • Graduate with your Honors diploma!