The Honors Thesis/Capstone Experience is required of students who wish to graduate with University Honors. It is a 3-credit one-semester independent study course and is the culminating project for the 18 “University Honors” sequence.
Directing an Honors Project represents a commitment of time on your part, but it also signals a commitment to our Honors-level students who are serious about their undergraduate study and interested in graduate-level work.
This is decidedly not a master’s thesis, but it should be regarded as a rigorous, original and extended undergraduate research or creative project that may well form the basis for future graduate studies. The Honors Thesis/Capstone often serves as the writing sample that students submit to graduate committees and employers.
Students should approach you with a clear idea of their research area. Often students need assistance in narrowing the topic to make it manageable and in recognizing the genuine originality of their approach to the problem. They may well need to be directed to read primary or secondary materials germane to their proposed topic.
The student will be required to submit a proposal to you and the Honors Dean for approval. Your job will be to make certain the student conforms to the protocols and expectations of your discipline with respect to a formal proposal. Although proposal formats will vary, each should clearly identify the research problem and methodology, and should establish the original thrust of the research. In some cases, “anticipated results” is an appropriate section of a proposal. If there are questions about the adequacy or clarity of a proposal, it may be necessary for the supervising professor and the Honors Director to confer.
Honors 313 (Research and Writing) is available to thesis students to assist them in proposal writing, researching tasks, and execution of the thesis drafts. The instructor in Honors 313 is a technical advisor to the process. It may be useful for her to confer with the supervising professor at some point regarding the student’s progress. Honors internships (Honor 410) also exist to give students a medium for studying a particular problem and developing a research agenda.
Once the proposal has been approved by the supervising professor and the Honors Dean, there should be close and formally scheduled interaction between student and professor. Performance expectations should be clearly understood between student and professor. The professor is solely responsible for the thesis grade, which is submitted to the Honors office.
Thesis students should be very capable, motivated, self-directed students. The results of their work should bring great satisfaction to both the student and the professor. Your work with these students is greatly appreciated. Please note also that the annual report form now has a category under “Teaching” where you can cite work with Honors Thesis students.
Please feel free to contact the Honors office (646-2005) to discuss any aspect of your involvement with an Honors Thesis student.