Honors Theses

Completing an Honors Thesis 

As an Honors College student, you will complete one senior thesis that fulfills the requirements of both your major's departmental honors program and the Honors College requirements.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your Honors Thesis or to start exploring the resources available to you. Good preparation will give your thesis better direction and help you avoid mistakes.

Plan ahead 

As you begin the process of thinking about your thesis, the library has many books that can help you create a plan for starting, working on and completing your thesis.

Books we recommend

Badke, W. (2004). Research strategies: finding your way through the information fog. New York: Universe, Inc. [University Library Reserves - Z 710 B34X 2004]. 

Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J. (2008). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [University Library Reference & Reserves: Q 180.55 M4 B66 2008]. 

Fowler, A. (2006). How to write. New York: Oxford University Press [University Library - PE 1408 F548 2006]. 

Lipson, C. (2005). How to write a BA thesis: a practical guide from your first ideas to your finished paper. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [University Library Reserves - LB 2369 L54 2005]. 

Mauch, J. & Park, N. (2003). Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation: a handbook for students and faculty. Boca Raton: CRC Press. [University Library Reserves or Dewey Library Reference - LB 2369 M377 2003]. 

Murray, R. T. & Brubaker, D. (2008). Theses and dissertations: a guide to planning, research, and writing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. [University Library - LB 2369 T458X 2008]. 

Ng, Pedro Pak-tao. (2003). Effective writing: a guide for social science students. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press. [University Library - PE 1479 S62 N48X 2003]. 

Roberts, B. (2007). Getting the most out of the research experience: what every researcher needs to know. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. [University Library - H 62 R57X 2007]. 

Robson, C. (2007). How to do a research project: a guide for undergraduate students. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. [University Library - LB 2369 R575 2005]. 

Russey, W., Ebel, H., & Bliefert, C. (2006). How to write a successful science thesis: the concise guide for students. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. [University Library - LB 2369 R87X 2006]. 

Walliman, N. (2005). Your research project: a step-by-step guide for the first-time researcher. London: Sage Publications. [University Library - LB 2369 W26 2005]. 

Wyse, D. (2007). The good writing guide for education students. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. [University Library - LB 2369 W97 2007]. 

Decide what kind of research you'll complete

The type of research you complete will be determined by your major. Research looks significantly different, for example, in English than it does in Biology. 

Your thesis advisors and other professors in your major’s department will be your best resource as you determine the type of research to complete. The University Library may also have discipline-specific resources. 

Find the current literature 

Every thesis starts with a review of the relevant literature. You need to discuss the current body of knowledge and how it was developed before you add to it.

Honors College Librarian Greg Bobish is available to meet one-on-one to help you find the materials you need for your thesis. He can help identify what’s available in our library, what you can request to borrow from other libraries and what sources you haven’t yet used. 

Write your thesis 

Citations: As you write your thesis, it’s important to appropriately cite literature and properly craft a bibliography. Review the University Library’s Citation Basics for help and ask your thesis advisor for specific guidance on citation styles in your field. 

Formatting: Honors theses should be formatted using the Honors College Thesis Checklist. You’ll need to prepare a title page, abstract, acknowledgement and table of contents.

Finalize your thesis 

Certificate of Completion: Once your thesis is done, you need to have a Certification of Completion of Honors Thesis Form signed by your thesis advisor, your departmental honors director and a second reader or thesis committee, if applicable. If your department does not have an honors program, the form should be signed by your thesis advisor and your department chairperson or undergraduate director. Bring the completed form to LC-31.

Consent for Scholars Archive: The Honors College requires theses to be openly shared as a graduation requirement. Because the Honors College uses the Scholars Archive to share theses, students will be asked to sign a nonexclusive license granting the University permission to distribute the work on their behalf. This license does not take any copyrights. Fill out an online consent form here.

Future Plans Survey: You should also complete the Future Plans Survey. Email the completed survey and your completed thesis to [email protected]