Honors students routinely engage in high-quality, rigorous academic research. The primary project students undertake is the honors thesis, however students are encouraged to pursue other projects and presentation opportunities throughout their time in the program.
The honors thesis provides honors students the unique opportunity to engage in a high quality study of a carefully defined question or problem over the course of 1.5 to 2 years. Based in research, this problem may be critical, experimental, applied, or creative in nature, and should represent an effort to make an original contribution to the field. In an honors thesis, students work with a faculty mentor to explore a topic in their major area of study. In all cases, the honors thesis is a substantial project that goes beyond normal requirements of the major and represents the student's best work in their discipline. Each thesis will demonstrate clear critical thinking, a mastery of disciplinary material, clarity in communication of complex ideas, and professionalism in production.
Students work with both the Honors Program and their major department as they prepare for the project. The Honors Program holds a mandatory meeting for second-year students to make sure they understand what is expected and can plan accordingly. During the third year, the thesis workshop prepares students to write a successful thesis proposal that is approved by the Honors Advisory Committee. In the senior year, Honors Fellows present their work-in-progress, and in the spring they defend the thesis before a committee comprised of the faculty mentor and other faculty representatives.
Overall requirements are set by the Honors Program, but individual departments provide guidance for what a thesis should be like and how it counts toward major requirements. Documents describing their expectations as well as those describing the thesis guidelines, requirements, and timeline are available on the website.
The following forms are required for students and faculty involved in Honors thesis research.
The following list links to documents students and faculty will find useful in the process of writing and assessing the Honors thesis.