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Thesis FAQ

All honors students are required to complete an honors thesis prior to graduating as an Honors Scholar, so the thesis process generates several questions. Below are a few of the most frequently asked ones. Select a question to go to its answer. You should also visit the Honors Thesis website, which goes into the thesis process in greater detail and includes the Honors Thesis Handbook. If you don’t see the answer to your question here or on the thesis website, please email

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What is the honors thesis?

The honors thesis is the culminating experience of your time in honors. Your thesis is a great opportunity to intensively research a particular topic of your interest and to work closely with a faculty mentor. Your thesis can take the form of a data-driven, fully written piece, or it could be a creative project. Your thesis topic is completely up to you!

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When should I start my honors thesis?

You should begin seriously thinking about your thesis with at least three semesters to go before you graduate. The thesis process begins the semester before you plan to enroll in three hours of HON 420: Honors Thesis Project and Seminar. By the end of that semester, you will identify your thesis mentor and submit your Honors Thesis Proposal Form. During the next semester, you will enroll in HON 420 and attend the actual thesis seminar class, which meets one day a week and is taught a member of the honors program staff with the assistance of Noel Studio staff. This seminar assists you with many of the crucial parts of beginning the thesis process. In the third semester, you will enroll in an additional three hours of HON 420, but these are not tied to an actual class; instead, you will use this time to complete your thesis. Toward the end of this third semester, you will present your work at our biannual Honors Thesis Conference.

We strongly suggest planning to begin your thesis sometime in your junior year. This allows you to complete your thesis before the semester you plan to graduate. This arrangement gives you the opportunity to use your thesis for various purposes – to present it at a conference, to use it as a writing sample for graduate school, etc.

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Can I use my honors thesis for my major?

Honors leaves that decision up to each specific major on campus. If you have some type of capstone or thesis project within your major, and you are interested in using your honors thesis for that, you need to speak with your major advisor.

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How long does an honors thesis have to be?

For those theses that take a traditional, written form, a typical length is 30 pages. For those theses that are more creative in nature and have some type of creative component (paintings, photography, etc.), there is a written component of 10 pages that accompanies the creative component.

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