The Honors Thesis
What is an Honors Thesis?
Following the Off-Campus Study Experience, you will complete a thesis or creative project under the supervision of an Honors Advisor. The Honors Thesis or project is designed to provide expertise in the student’s discipline and further enrichment of the student’s curriculum.
The Honors Thesis is generally a research paper ranging in length from 35 to 60 pages. The paper should be well written, carefully documented and organized.
A creative project also could meet the requirements of the senior project. The production, performance or creative work should be fashioned according to the requirements of the student’s specific area of study, and must be deemed appropriate by agreement of the Honors Advisor, the Honors Director and the Honors Council.
- the writing and directing of a play
- the production of a film
- the creation of a piece of music or art
The Honors Thesis or project may represent original research or a new finding in the field or may be an original creative work. It may also result in conference presentations and publications in scholarly journals. However, originality in the form of new findings in the field is not required for the completion of a satisfactory thesis, nor is publication or presentation at a conference.
Projects will vary, often considerably, according to the requirements of the student's discipline/major. In computer science, for example, the thesis may consist primarily of a program the student has developed. The text of the thesis then provides the background and the problems encountered and resolved during the writing of the program. In mathematics, the thesis may consist of the theorems and proofs of the work undertaken in developing the thesis.
What is the value of writing an Honors Thesis?
- It provides experience in writing a longer research paper, and prepares you for further work at the graduate and professional level.
- It is highly valued by selection committees for graduate school fellowships and by potential employers.
- It sets you apart from other candidates who have similar scores and backgrounds, by demonstrating that you have the maturity, the persistence, the commitment and the organizational skills to produce a challenging piece of research.
- It broadens your horizons, and leads you to develop a sense of independence as a self-starting, highly motivated individual who can handle the challenge of a non-structured academic task.
- It develops organizational and “people” skills. All other courses at the undergraduate level are fixed in their meeting times, their requirements, their exams. Your schedule is set by you. To complete this independent study project and receive a good grade, you must set the schedule, take the initiative, and discover resources in yourself that seldom come into play at the undergraduate level. You must also work closely with an advisor and build a positive relationship that will lead to successful cooperation.
What are the best strategies for writing an Honors Thesis?
- Find an advisor in your major.
- Use effective strategies to complete your thesis.
- Consult with the Honors Director concerning Honors Thesis format.
- Use appropriate documentation style. (See below)
- Submit the final approved draft to a committee of readers generally consisting of the advisor, a second member of the department, an outside reader, and the Honors Director or an Honors Council member.
- Give a Thesis presentation before the committee or at a conference.
- Submit a final draft of the Honors Thesis for binding.
What forms of documentation should I use?
APA Documentation: Use this style for papers related to social, human, or natural sciences
MLA Documentation: Use this style for papers related to literature and humanities
CMS Documentation: Use this style for history and art
CSE Documentation (formerly known as CBE): Use this style for sciences