Academics: Special Academic Programs and Offerings

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Honor Student

Honors Senior Thesis Guidelines

The Honors Senior Thesis is the culminating research paper or project (projects must have a written component) that is developed through departmentally supervised research and two semester thesis courses (designated as such or offered as independent study courses). Chairs may approve a specific methodology course as the first semester Thesis course or as prerequisite to the thesis courses in the senior year. The Honors Thesis is developed within each major as a capstone experience for honors students. Disciplines define methodology, length and the standards of scholarly research. Interdisciplinary Thesis should be guided by faculty advisers who have scholarship and teaching experience in interdisciplinary areas within or across disciplines.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate the ability to design, synthesize and conduct research based on current methodology
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills within a context of independent research


The Honors Thesis will be evaluated by the thesis adviser in the departmental major with input from the chair and/or department committee. In case of an interdisciplinary Thesis where two advisers or a committee of different departments are evaluating the thesis, coordination of departments is required and specific primary advisers will evaluate the thesis. The thesis adviser/s will assign the grade for the two semester thesis courses.

Programmatic Assessment:

Since Aug. 2011, the Honors Program has initiated a process for programmatic assessment of theses. Random sampling of Honors Thesis will be assessed by the Honors Committee and advisers:

a. to see if the papers have proper documentation of sources

b. to see if the papers use sources critically

c. to see if the papers have an identifiable thesis/statement of problem

d. to see if the papers present an argument in support of the thesis/statement

Programmatic assessment will gather evidence to help support Honors Thesis process in building effective:

  1. Critical thinking skills: selection, use and assessment of sources
  2. Writing skills: focused thesis/statement of problem, support of thesis/statement (argumentation, analysis, interpretation); proper grammar, mechanics
  3. Research skills: knowledge and application of methodology, theories and/or scholarship in the field; proper documentation of sources



A certain thesis format is required of all majors irrespective of the sponsoring department.  These requirements are as follows:

  1. all theses should be bound; you can have this done at no cost to you in the basement of Rockefeller Hall in the Administrative Support Services Office;
  2. all theses should be accompanied by an abstract;
  3. all theses should contain a title page;
  4. all theses should contain a bibliography, and
  5. all theses should be double-spaced. 


Each academic department should set standards of evaluation and thesis quality and develop procedures to enforce them.  This includes:

  1. the determination of the thesis length
  2. the determination of footnote style (is appropriate);
  3. the determination of the number of hours to be awarded for the thesis; and
  4. the determination of the point in time in a major when the student should begin her thesis and the period of time provided the student for completing it (subject to the deadlines of the Honors Program).  The thesis is due in the Honors Program office in May of the year the senior is graduating.


Upon approval of the thesis topic, the thesis adviser is to complete and sign the Honors Thesis Proposal Registration Form.  This form requests general background information on the student and her thesis subject.  After completing and signing the form, the thesis adviser is to forward it to the chairperson of the major department in which the thesis requirements are being completed.  The department chairperson is to sign the form and send it to the director of the Honors Program by Oct. 15.


  1. The Thesis Proposal Registration Form must be received by the director of the Honors Program within 30 days after the approval of the student's honors thesis topic.  Submit signed registration form no later than Oct. 15.
  2. The Thesis and Honors Thesis Approval forms must be received by the Thesis Adviser by April 12.
  3. The Thesis and Honors Thesis Final Approval form must be received by   the Department Chairperson by April 22.
  4. By May 1 the Honors Thesis Final Approval form must be received by the Director of the Honors Program.  The copy of the approval form forwarded to the Director of the Honors Program should be attached to the completed and bound thesis.   


  1. The Honors student who is in a double major or interdisciplinary program is to be permitted to write a discipline-basis thesis in the major department of her choice.
  2. For the departments in which the thesis in not being done and which has a thesis requirement for all majors in that department, a copy of the thesis will be sent to that department.  In addition, that department can elect to impose additional course work up to four hours to replace the hours lost as a result of the student completing the thesis in her other major department.
  3. Students who choose to write a thesis that is interdisciplinary in nature, may add appropriate faculty from other relevant departments to supplement the thesis evaluation committee within the department in which they complete the thesis requirement.

Honors Thesis Presentation

An oral presentation of the thesis (or some aspect of the thesis) can be presented at Research Day, off campus conference (sponsored by Honors Program) or to Honors committee, but a presentation is required of all seniors who are completing their thesis.