Honors Thesis or Project

The Honors Thesis or Project is a comprehensive 6-credit research effort of original scholarship. Traditionally completed over two semesters (3 + 3 credits) in the senior year, it offers students an opportunity to work closely with faculty members on advanced research topics or creative endeavors.

  • A thesis involves developing and working toward answering a research question
  • A project involves an alternative academic enterprise of equivalent intensity and scope, e.g. creative work (art, theater, music), engineering invention, business case study, etc..

Both result in a scholarly manuscript, with the project manuscript often supplemented by an artifact created as a result of the research, e.g., DVD of a theatre performance or musical score; architectural blueprints; screenplay; collection of original poetry, etc.. 

Whether the intended end result is a thesis or project, each begins with creative inquiry and systematic research, includes documentation of substantive scholarly effort, and each culminates in an oral defense or other form of public presentation.

Registration Options

There are two registration options for honors theses and honors projects, depending upon a student's preference (or participation in a Departmental Honors (DH) track).

  • Individually contracted between a student and faculty research committee, using the online CHC Paths Honors Thesis/Project contract process, or
  • Classroom seminar guided by an instructor's preapproved syllabi on a specific topic and registered via SPIRE. Seminar descriptions are listed in the Honors Course Guide and are subject to change year to year.

Sample Timeframe and Steps: Individually-contracted Honors Thesis or Project*

Part I: Honors Research (initial 3cr)

  1. Anytime:  Initiate conversations with faculty regarding potential honors thesis or project research topics.
  2. April/May of Junior year:
    1. Obtain two faculty members to serve on thesis/project guidance committee
    2. Discuss and draft Part I research proposal which addresses:
      1. Statement regarding the goal of the thesis/project
      2. Key readings
      3. Communication with committee
      4. Specialized training
      5. Methodology
      6. Timeline
    3. Submit Part I research proposal and registration request via CHC PATHS online. Download PDF for instructions on submitting a 499Y contract for Part I of the Honors Thesis/Project.
  3. September thru December of Senior year: conduct Part I research

Part II: Honors Thesis or Project (final 3cr)

  1. November/December of Senior year:
    1. Guidance committee evaluates Part I research and determines if student may proceed with Part II
    2. Discuss and draft Part II research proposal which addresses:
      1. Introduction
      2. Review of Literature
      3. Methodology
      4. Evaulation
      5. Communication with committee
      6. Timeline
    3. Submit Part II research proposal and registration request via CHC PATHS online. Download PDF for instructions on submitting a 499T/P contract for Part II of the Honors Thesis/Project.
  2. 2nd semester of Senior year:  conduct Part II research
  3. Mid-April of Senior year:  compile draft of manuscript for committee review
  4. May of Senior year
    1. Committee conducts oral defense and student makes revisions to manucript as necessary
    2. Committee submits final grade(s)
    3. Submit properly formatted manuscript via by the appropriate deadline

* Students intending to complete all 6 credits in one semester should use the Part II contract to submit their registration request and proposal.