Mentoring the Honors Thesis/Senior Project

The Honors Thesis/Senior Project serves as the cumulative work of an undergraduate Honors student. Many students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln complete a capstone project in their major as part of a regular course. The Honors Thesis or Honors Senior Project is designed to ask students to go beyond their capstone efforts to produce research or a creative activity constituting Honors-level work (for many faculty it is helpful to think of the Honors Thesis/Senior project being equivalent to the semester project a Master’s student might produce in a one-semester seminar). Students may accomplish this either by building upon a capstone project or by completing a project related one of their areas of study but not connected to a capstone course.

Many students build upon undergraduate research experiences when writing their thesis. This is perfectly acceptable and encouraged. Also, for students in colleges that offer the opportunity to graduate with a level of distinction, based upon a thesis or creative project, the Honors Thesis/Senior Project can count towards both Honors requirements and distinction requirements. Please consult individual college distinction requirements for details, and note that college distinction deadlines may differ from Honors Program deadlines.

We believe that faculty are in the best position to adjudicate that the amount and level of work for a thesis/senior project constitutes Honors quality, and faculty mentors are solely responsible for certifying that the final thesis/senior project is completed at an appropriately rigorous level. The Honors Program core faculty is always available to answer questions and help faculty through this process.

Thesis/Senior Project Process

Step 1
The student should identify a faculty mentor who holds the terminal degree in the thesis/senior project topic’s field and is employed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Co-mentors may be appropriate if the project is interdisciplinary or the student is in a college requiring co-mentors for distinction purposes. Students who are involved in research projects through other University of Nebraska campuses or with faculty at other institutions of higher education will likely be able to proceed with co-mentors, where one is a UNL faculty member in their home department.
Step 2
The student and faculty mentor should discuss the scope, format, and timeline for completion of the Honors Thesis/Senior Project. The final submission date for the Honors Program is generally about half-way through the final semester, but individual college distinction requirements may place it earlier. Faculty and students should be sure to consult college distinction deadlines as they plan the thesis/senior project timeline.
Step 3
The student is required to submit the Honors Thesis/Senior Project Prospectus form during the 6th semester—even if the student plans to graduate sometime after the 8th semester. The prospectus includes a brief abstract of the intended topic and a timeline.
Step 4
When the student submits the Honors Thesis/Senior Project Prospectus form, the faculty mentor(s) will receive a copy of it via email. The faculty mentor(s) should respond to the email confirming agreement or declining the proposal the student has submitted. A faculty mentor with concerns or questions should contact Dr. Tamy Burnett in the main Honors office.
Step 5
The student should complete the work, revising timeline and project details as necessary during the process. The student may wish to register for thesis writing credit, either through a departmental 399H or 499H course or through UHON 499H. Faculty mentors will be asked to submit a grade for students who enroll in UHON 499H. Student may earn up to 6 Honors credits for thesis writing, subject to faculty mentors approval.
If the thesis/senior project changes in scope dramatically or the faculty mentor(s) change, the student should submit a revised Honors Thesis/Senior Project Prospectus.
Step 6
When the Honors Thesis/Senior Project is completed to the satisfaction of the faculty mentor(s), the “Honors Thesis Completion Form” should be signed by the faculty mentor(s) and submitted to the main Honors Program office by the student. Honors Program submission dates for the current semester may differ from college distinction dates.