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Directing Honors Theses

Information for faculty members on guiding Honors Thesis research

Honors Thesis direction provides a rewarding and rich teaching opportunity to develop independent, innovative, and responsible researchers.  Through the Honors Thesis project, students propose and follow a line of inquiry, learn the research methods of their field, conduct a long-term project, compose a major document to communicate their findings, and defend their scholarship. Faculty guidance over the course of two or more semesters supports these accomplishments. 


The thesis director is the instructor of record for a thesis course, awarding a grade for each semester of enrollment. Also the chair of the defense committee, the director leads in the verification and certification of the Honors Thesis document.  

The Ogden Honors College defers to the thesis director for determining the style, length, scope, and structure of the thesis. Honors Thesis guidelines broadly define different formats for the thesis, but leave a wide degree of flexibility for discipline-specific expectations. A useful reference for the style and formatting of the Honors Thesis is the Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines (.pdf). However, Honors Theses need not conform specifically to these guidelines.

Becoming a thesis director

A student may request that a faculty member serve as their thesis director because the chosen topic aligns with a research interest, or because the student wishes to extend a mentor relationship developed in the classroom or in another campus activity. When proposing a thesis topic, students are encouraged to compose a prospectus to provide information to a professor about their topic and to demonstrate a level of commitment to the project. 

Many Honors students receive funds for campus jobs, and these jobs can be research positions. In such cases, students work with a professor on research throughout their undergraduate career, ultimately brining that work to their thesis project. This arrangement provides a natural progression toward superior undergraduate scholarship. As such, supervisors of undergraduate research assistants are encouraged to direct research activities toward independent projects that may be developed into Honors Theses. Faculty members interested in recruiting Honors College undergraduate research assistants may work with the Office of Undergraduate Research to find suitable candidates.

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