Completion of an Honors thesis, normally begun in the junior year, is a requirement of the Honors Program.

Students will work individually with a faculty adviser to design a plan of study, a research project, or creative scholarship. They will present the product and the process to an Honors faculty committee in a form suitable to the project at hand and scholarly in fashion.

Thesis Blue Book Guidelines

Thesis grading rubrics can be found here.


Currently you may not enroll in the Honors thesis or project by using the touchtone telephone registration system or the Web. Students must register by using an arranged course form which may be obtained from the Records Office or from the Honors Program Office (Hagg-Sauer 357). The course will be noted as 9-42-4890. The section number will be assigned by the Records Office. The Honors thesis or project will carry two (2) semester credits.

Thesis requirements from other departments may also satisfy the Honors thesis requirement. Students who wish to use this option will make arrangements with the Director of the Honors Program prior to beginning their thesis or project. A subcommittee of the Honors Council must review the thesis and agree that it meets Honors standards.


It is anticipated that the thesis or project will take more than one semester to complete. The appropriate grade for a thesis that has not been completed is “IP” (in progress). In Progress grades can be carried as long as the student is registered for classes and one year beyond the term of the student’s last registration. If the thesis is not completed by that time the “IP” grade will change to an “F.” The thesis advisor, who is the instructor of record, is the final evaluator for the thesis project. Before a final grade is entered, however, the thesis must be approved by a specially-appointed Honors Committee, including the Honors Director.

Choice of Topic

The topic chosen may, but need not, be in the student’s major discipline. Students should consult with the Director of the Honors Program as early as possible (preferably in the sophomore year) to explore possible topics and appropriate thesis advisers. Honors projects and theses focus on a wide variety of topics including, for example, the revolution in Iran, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, the authoring of creative non-fiction accompanied by artistic reflection, recent theories about how students learn, and the historical controversy about who invented calculus. These projects have provided opportunities for outstanding students to perform serious research and creative scholarship under the close supervision of a faculty member.  See a list of theses completed by former and current Honors students.

Thesis Proposal

Prior to undertaking thesis research, the Honors scholar must present to the Director of the Honors Program a detailed proposal indicating the nature of the work to be undertaken, the faculty adviser, a working bibliography, and the nature of the final work (scholarly essay, research results, artist statements, reflection) to be submitted. The thesis proposal is reviewed by a committee of the Honors council. The Director provides written notification to the student of approval or the need for revision of the thesis proposal.

Format of Thesis

The appropriate format for the final submitted work depends upon the topic chosen. The Honors Director has on file all successfully completed theses, and can give individual guidance to the student, in cooperation with the thesis advisor, on the appropriate format, bibliographical and citation style, and so forth.