Students enrolled in a honors thesis or project of any kind are expected to document their work. This documentation must take the form of a thesis or project manuscript conforming to Commonwealth Honors College content and formatting requirements below.

Students seeking honors distinction upon graduation are required to submit their manuscripts to the Honors College office for forwarding to the W.E.B. DuBois Library archives.

Manuscript Guidelines          Manuscript Formatting          Manuscript Submission



The honors thesis and project manuscripts traditionally include the components below.  However, the thesis instructor/committee may authorize adjustments to number 3-8 to meet professional standards set by the department.

Thesis Manuscript

Project Manuscript

  1. Title page with original approval signature(s)

  2. Abstract (2 copies)

  3. Introduction

  4. Summary of work of previous researchers

  5. Explanation of current methodology and goals

  6. Report and discussion of research results

  7. Conclusions and implication for future research

  8. Bibliography

  9. Appendix (optional)

  1. Title page with original approval signature(s)

  2. Abstract (2 copies)

  3. Written component
    Project manuscripts must be a minimum of 10 pages in length* and contain at least two of these:

  • Contextual information: e.g., literature review or a discussion of theoretical or artistic influences
  • Process information: e.g., what did you wish to achieve? How did you set out to achieve the goals?
  • Reflections: e.g., what did you learn or contribute?  What changes would you make in hindsight? Implications or suggestions for the future?
  1. Artifact: artifact formats should follow the standard of the discipline.
    Artifact examples include collections of original poetry, screenplays, slides/videotapes/CDs of creative work, case studies, a manuscript submitted for publication through a collaborative effort, engineering plans, landscape designs, photojournalistic essay, etc.

*Project manuscripts can be a variety of styles depending upon the professional format appropriate to the field of study:

  • Preface manuscripts: e.g., a collection of original poetry which is preceded by a preface which addresses two of the three areas above
  • Integrated manuscripts: e.g., a 40-page case study report which addresses two of the three areas above
  • Accompanying manuscripts: e.g., a comparative study of three artists, accompanied by original artwork created to better understand their artistic styles and techniques

While manuscripts must be a minimum of 10 pages, actual length and scope are at the discretion of the instructor/comittee.

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The honors thesis or project manuscripts must meet minimum quality standards for submission to the University Archives. These standards, along with some examples, are addressed in the sections below.


Please use the appropriate template from our FORMS page to format your title and abstract pages. Remember to have your 499 instructor(s) review your work and sign the title page with their approval.


  • Paper: clean, white, 8.5 x 11 inch, of consistent quality and weight
  • Pages: loose and unbound; double-sided is acceptable if paper is not too transparent
  • Margins: set to 1 inch on each side
  • Page numbering:  consecutively, beginning after the title and abstract pages
  • Font: consistent type and size throughout (e.g., Times Roman 12 pt)
  • Spacing: double-spaced (exceptions: block quotes, footnotes, itemized or tabular material)
  • Style manual: if used, it must be used consistently throughout (e.g., Psych APA, English MLA, Chicago, etc.)

Note:  the Appendix section is exempt from the requirements above

MS Word users:  for helpful tips on formatting Table of Contents, page numbering, references, bibliographies, etc., refer to our handout "Formatting your 499 Manuscript using MS Word 2010."


Artifacts such as CDs or videotapes must be labeled with:

  • Student's last name, first name

  • Spire ID

  • Date the manuscript is submitted

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Please refer to our "499 Manuscript Submission" web page for info related to grading and submission deadlines as well as submission options.