Juniors should begin thinking about the possibility of doing a Senior Honors Thesis in spring semester before registration. Here are some answers to questions regarding the process, and attached you will find a course proposal form that you will need to complete in order to work on a thesis.
What is the difference between University and Departmental Honors? All students completing an honors thesis receive Departmental Honors. Those students completing an honors thesis (499) in a department who are enrolled in the University Honors Program (and who have completed all other program requirements) receive University Honors. THERE IS NO SEPARATE THESIS FOR UNIVERSITY HONORS.
Who is eligible to do an Honors Thesis? Any second-semester junior or senior with a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the time of registration and with approval of the department may apply to do an honors thesis. You must register for at least one semester, but you may register for up to two semesters of honors thesis credit.
How do I apply to do an Honors Thesis? If you have the necessary grade point and an interesting project in mind, you must follow these steps:
- Discuss your project with faculty members in your department and find one faculty member willing to be your director. In addition, you need to find one other faculty member in your department and one outside your department to serve on your thesis committee.
- Fill out the Honors Thesis (499) Course Proposal form and obtain necessary signatures from your committee and your department chair.
- Forward the Honors Thesis (499) Course Proposal form to the Honors Program, Matthies House for final approval. The Honors director will file the proposal with the Registrar, who will then confirm your registration.
- Make sure that you receive a confirmation copy of your course proposal form from the Registrar before the semester begins.
How many credits of Honors Thesis may I earn? Check your departmental guidelines, but the general rule is 0-8 credits total. You may take 8 credits in one semester or 0 credits for two semesters as long as departmental rules allow it. For more information on departmental guidelines, see the Honors Program webpage under Thesis.
How do I successfully complete a thesis? Again, check your departmental guidelines, but the general rule is that you complete a thesis project and do an oral defense of your project with your chosen committee. You need to plan to finish all work and your defense at least four weeks before the end of the academic year. If you successfully complete and defend your honors thesis, then your faculty director will assign you a grade and alert the Registrar that you have received honors.
Are there any common pitfalls? The major thing to remember is that you MUST register for 499 credit!!! DO NOT use 490 or any other 491-498 number for Honors Thesis credit!!!