Honors Program

Honors Thesis

The Honors Thesis Option: Interdisciplinary Research

If you have developed an especially well-focused research interest--especially if it doesn't seem to fit within one area of study--explore the possibility of doing an Honors Thesis.

The Honors Thesis Option process is a two-semester commitment to rigorous research. Writing a thesis will demonstrate your academic preparation and maturity to graduate schools, scholarship committees, and top employers.

If your plan for an Honors Thesis is approved, your first semester (Research for Thesis) can substitute for one Honors Colloquium. Start your planning for a thesis before junior year if possible.

Students who are full or associate members of the Honors Program in good standing may elect to write an Honors Thesis.


A. During the semester before the student intends to enroll in the Research for Thesis course, an Honors thesis proposal must be approved by an Honors thesis advisor and the Honors Director. If the thesis advisor is also an Honors Director, the student must choose an appropriate outside reader from the University faculty, subject to the approval of the Honors Director. In general the Honors thesis advisor should be a member of the Honors Faculty. The proposal should meet the following criteria, as applicable:

  1. A clear statement of the question and several sub-questions
  2. Preliminary, specific proposal for the Literature Review including several journals and books that will form the starting point of the review
  3. The qualifications of the student for this project, including but not limited to, specific reading, course work, work experience, and research experience
  4. A consideration of the potential interdisciplinary implications of the question
  5. A section providing definitions of terms
  6. Preliminary description of the methodology
  7. The proposal should be approximately 2000 words, double-spaced, in a 12-point font of the advisor's choosing.

B. The student must enroll in Research for Thesis for three credit hours and complete a prospectus as the first half of the thesis project. This prospectus will consist of the following criteria, as applicable:

  1. Definition of terms
  2. Clear statement of thesis topic focus
  3. Hypotheses
  4. Discussion of methodology in exploring the topic
  5. Literature review, including an annotated bibliography, with the same format as the proposal. This entire document shall be approximately 30 pages in length.

C. After approval of the prospectus by the Honors Directors and the Honors thesis advisor, the student must enroll in the second three-credit segment, Honors Thesis, and form an Honors thesis committee.

The thesis committee should consist of the thesis advisor and two additional experts, chosen from the faculty or other suitable professionals. The committee must be approved by the Honors Director.

D. The final thesis must be approved by the thesis committee and the Honors Directors. The final paper is due one calendar month prior to the end of the semester and should be of suitable quality for publication with minimal revision.

E. The thesis will be defended in a public oral examination administered by the thesis committee and at least one Honors Director.

F. A thesis or paper written for another department will not be accepted for the Honors thesis option, but may be adaptable by prior proposal and approval only for Honors Upper Division in the Major.