Before graduating from The Honors College, students must choose to complete an Honors Thesis or the Senior Seminar; either way, students produce a significant final project in their major or minor. Deciding which option is best depends on a student’s level of interest in the subject material, scheduling, and learning style preference. It is important to note that neither the Thesis nor the Seminar necessarily constitutes more work than the other.
Senior Seminar: Honors 475
Prerequisites: Good standing in The Honors College and 90 credits earned prior to enrollment.
This topical seminar is offered both fall and spring and focuses on a theme that is examined within a broad, interdisciplinary perspective. In the course of a single semester, the class explores the theme through shared readings and assignments, and each student develops and designs a final research project that integrates the course theme with their major. Recent course topics include “Money and Values,” “Happiness,” “A Year in the Life,” “Anger,” and “Global Issues.”
Honors Thesis: DEPT 474
Prerequisites: Good standing in The Honors College and senior status.
The Honors Thesis is a two-semester project where students engage independently in significant research on a subject of their choice within their major or minor. With the aid of a faculty advisor, students create a substantial scholarly or creative work in a supportive environment.
During the first semester, students work with their faculty advisor and with The Honors College Dean to develop an original idea that is documented in a prospectus. Upon completion and approval of the prospectus, students then proceed with their projects. An Honors Thesis must address recent scholarship and demonstrate significant involvement with the subject, and it is especially excellent preparation for those who intend to pursue postgraduate degrees.
At the end of the semester in which their work is completed, students present at the Honors Thesis Symposium.
There are many benefits to completing an Honors Thesis:
- Credit for the project is applied to the student’s major or minor.
- The Thesis is especially useful preparation for students intending to go on to graduate school, both for application purposes and for the experience of completing a graduate-style project.
- An undergraduate Thesis on a resume demonstrates to potential employers an impressive level of engagement, independence, and dedication.
- Completion of such a project represents a milestone in a student’s academic and personal development.
While only two semesters are required to complete the project, those considering the option are encouraged to contact us and to attend a Senior Capstone Meeting by Junior year.
Students who wish to see examples of previously completed theses may check them out from a library in the Honors offices. Take a look in the Honors Thesis register or ask a staff member for suggestions. (While there is no specific due date for theses borrowed, please review and return the items in a timely manner to ensure that all Honors students have equal access to these resources.)
Planning for the Honors Senior Capstone?
Honors College students at either junior or senior level should attend a Senior Capstone Meeting, which is held every September and February. This short meeting is a great way to learn about the two options in greater detail. Stay tuned for announcements at the beginning of each semester.