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 or research project, conduct their research, and present it to an Honors faculty committee in a form suitable for publication.

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 need to 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 which 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 last registration. If the thesis is not completed by that time the “IP” grade will change to an “F.”The decision as to an appropriate final grade is left to the thesis advisor, who is the instructor of record. Before a final grade is entered, however, the thesis must be approved by a specially-appointed Honors Committee.

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) in order to explore possible topics and appropriate thesis advisers. Honors projects and theses have dealt with a wide variety of topics including, for example, the revolution in Iran, the poetry of Wallace Stevens, 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 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, etc.) to be submitted. The thesis proposal will be reviewed by a committee of the Honors council. The Director will give 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 will depend 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, etc.