John F. Reed Honors Program

Honors Thesis Guidelines & Process

  1. Students will write an interdisciplinary thesis with a minimum of two disciplines used, thus a need for two readers minimum from two different departments will be required. This project will be based on the proposal project completed in HON 350. [Students in Honors but from catalogues prior to Fall 2008 will not have taken HON 350, but will complete their thesis process through HON 499.]
  2. A public presentation is required.
  3. Given the above, thesis should be for a broader audience and use language and concepts such that a broader audience could understand. Thus, part of the goal of the thesis process is for students to become public intellectuals.
  4. A thesis topic may in part be developed from topics that arose in one of their Honors Forums (or a progression of them).
  5. Thesis will be bound to formatting specifications; left-hand margin (for binding purposes) must be 1.5 inches; all other margins are 1 inch.

Must be a substantive intellectual inquiry utilizing original research and producing an interdisciplinary understanding of the topic.

  • Proves or argues a new concept
  • Connects existing research in a new way
  • Examples include:
    • Scientific thesis
    • Discursive thesis (humanities, etc.)
    • Engineering Project (tangible results needed – e.g., an 8 lb. bicycle, an underwater missile)
    • A business project
    • An oral history
    • Literary Creative Work – must have written critical component
    • Artistic Creative Work – must have written critical component
    • Music or dance performance – own compositions and covers and write up (critical) of piece
    • Curriculum development – not just Education majors may do this.
    • A combination of the above.

Must include a written portion if creative or applied

  • Example: Catalogue of art exhibit with critical analysis

Creative or applied theses must include a critical component that may be met by one or more of the following strategies:

  • Library research – annotated bibliographies
  • Theoretical or critical preface/paper
  • Evaluations by others - formalized
  • Narrative or written report, reflective, on the experience as it relates to others’ work, history, and theories.
  • Photographic record
  • Art exhibit catalogue with critical preface, narrative, etc.

Thesis Process:

The following steps are for Honors students admitted prior to Fall 2008; Honors students admitted after Fall 2008 do not go through this process; rather they follow the progression of HON 350, 450, and 451 in developing these stages.

Submit description including, as much as possible

  1. Independent Study form (speak with Honors Program Coordinator to retrieve this form)
  2. Working Title
  3. Statement of Intent. What are you trying to say? This is your research question
  4. Background and significance. Why are you doing this? Identify central issues
  5. Methods/procedures. How are you going to do this?
  6. Human subjects approval (if necessary). Please see the Institutional Review Board web site for information about research that requires approval and how to get your project approved.
  7. Preliminary outline or prospectus of finished thesis (perhaps at the beginning of second thesis term?)
  8. Why you are interested in doing this and what in your background lends itself toward helping you do it?
  9. Whom would you like to work with as a faculty advisor? How does their expertise lend itself to your project?
  10. Schedule. Please provide a timetable for research, drafts, etc. See below for guidelines.
  11. Expenses/Budget, if necessary
  12. References for proposal
  13. Hoped-for outcomes of proposal
  14. Appendices (if necessary)

Each step should be as fleshed out as possible for each term of the thesis work; I would anticipate that especially steps 6-7, 9-14 might change a bit as the second term is approached.

Schedule Guidelines:

  1. Submit IS form and proposal by census of the term, preferably before then;
  2. develop with advisor the above steps to produce a coherent proposal;
  3. A month before the end of the term, and/or two weeks before the presentation, submit a draft for Honors Council members to critique;
  4. Final draft due after presentation, in format appropriate for binding, but by end of finals’ week of term that it is due.

Required Forms & Sample Pages: