Honors Senior Project

The Honors Senior Project (sometimes called a thesis) is the culmination of your work as an undergraduate Honors student. This is an extended project that utilizes the skills and knowledge you have gained during your undergraduate education to demonstrate your ability to be an active, engaged, scholarly citizen. This project may take a variety of forms, depending on your major/college, your future goals, and your interests.

In four colleges (Arts & Sciences, CASNR, Hixon-Lied Fine & Performing Arts, and Journalism and Mass Communications), students may also submit a thesis to the college as part of the process of earning a level of distinction. Submitting to both Honors and your college will require two sets of paperwork, may impact which project option you choose, and may require you to meet earlier due dates than the Honors Program's. Consult the Colleges' pages for full details.

To submit your paper work to the Honors program, please either bring it in person to Knoll 213 OR submit thesis paperwork online.

Senior Project Forms

Types of Senior Projects

For Students of Any Major:



In the traditional research thesis, the student conducts research appropriate to their field of study and writes a paper. This option is most popular for students applying to professional or graduate schools, or those entering professions where traditional research is a key skill set. Expected scope will vary by discipline, but it exceeds a regular undergraduate research paper or class project. It may build on research like UCARE or a non-Honors capstone project.

Applied Knowledge Project


Students create a real-world output that demonstrates synthesis and application of learning, usually in the major. Examples include creating a resource (videos, website); writing a curriculum; compiling a themed cookbook; or similar. The project is accompanied by a written explanation of the output and situating it within discipline-appropriate research. Scope varies by discipline, but it should represent a substantial investment of time and intellectual energy.

Creative Project

brush and pen

A creative project involves research and creative output in a relevant discipline, usually in the fine arts, such as a recital or art show. The output is accompanied by a written explanation of the output and situating it within contexts of various artistic styles or movements. Expected scope of the creative project will vary by discipline, but it exceeds a senior show or recital expected of every graduating major in the field.

For Students of The Following Majors:

  • All College of Business majors
  • All Raikes School Students
  • Civic & Environmental Engineering majors
  • Computer Science, Computer Engineering, & Software Engineering majors
  • Mechanical Engineering majors
graduate cap on computer screen

Approved Honors Capstone Course Project

A few majors offer an Honors version of their capstone course for which the major project of the course can be submitted to the University Honors Program to fulfill the senior project requirement. These include and are limited to:

  • MNGT 475H for all College of Business majors
  • Raikes Design Studio for Raikes students and associates
  • CIVE 489H (for Civil & Environmental Engineering majors)
  • CSCE 486H & 487H
  • CSCE 488H & 489H
  • SOFT 403H & 404H
  • MECH Capstone

Any other scenarios involving capstone course work must receive pre-approval from the Honors Program.

Note: Colleges generally do not accept capstone projects for Distinction Theses. See your College's information for details.

Project Timelines

The Honors Senior Project is a long-term project that will require you to plan ahead. The average student spends at least a year from project inception to completion, although you may certainly invest more time and some projects can be successfully completed in a little less than a year.

Senior Project Timeline – Traditional Thesis, Applied Knowledge Project, or Creative Project
Prospectus Due Research & Work on Project Full Draft to Faculty for Feedback Revise Project Project Defense only required if also submitting to College Senior Project & Evaluation Due Graduation
Mid-March previous year March-December End of December Jan-Feb Late Feb Mid-March May
Mid-July previous year July-April End of April May-June Late June Mid-July August
Mid-October previous year October-June End of June July-Sept Late September Mid-October December
Senior Project Timeline – Approved Honors Capstone
Capstone Intention Form Due Enroll in Honors Capstone Class Capstone Anticipated Completion Form Due Capstone Work Uploaded to Digital Commons Graduation
Mid-March previous year Usually this is the final or final two semesters. Confirm timing with major advisor. Middle of final term of capstone Usually mid-March for spring classes or mid-October for fall classes Tuesday of Finals Week Must have instructor approval first May
Mid-July previous year August
Mid-October previous year December
Future Due Dates by Expected Graduation Term
Graduation Term Prospectus Due Project Due
Dec. 2021 Oct. 26, 2020 Oct. 25, 2021
May 2022 Mar. 15, 2021 Mar. 14, 2022
Aug. 2022 July 12, 2021 July 15, 2022
Dec. 2022 Oct. 25, 2021 Oct. 19, 2022
May 2023 Mar. 14, 2022 Mar. 6, 2023
Aug. 2023 July 15, 2022 July 14, 2023
Dec. 2023 Oct. 19, 2022 Oct. 18, 2023

The only standing exception to the above timeline applies to students submitting the course project from an approved Honors capstone course (Raikes, Business, CIVE, and CSCE/SOFT majors).

  1. These students should submit the capstone-specific prospectus and evaluation form at the Prospectus and Project deadlines above.
  2. If the capstone is taken before the final semester, the regular project submission due date applies.
  3. If the capstone is being taken during the student's final semester, the project itself needs to be approved by the course instructor and uploaded to either the Honors Public or Private (Embargoed) Digital Commons Archive no later than Tuesday of finals week (unless earlier submission is required by the course).

Other exceptions to this timeline are extremely rare, as the timeline is set in conjunction with other campus processes related to graduation and commencement. If you believe you have a truly exceptional situation that might warrant a timeline exception, please contact the Honors Office as early as possible to discuss.

Enrolling in Thesis Hours

The Honors Program does not require students to enroll in any specific courses or credit hours in order to complete the Senior Project. However, students may enroll in an appropriate UHON 99H (usually "research") for one term, or, with approval from the faculty mentors supervising the project, students may choose to enroll in independent study hours to work on the Senior Project. Generally these hours are numbered 399H or 499H in the major, and students should contact their major department for permission to enroll.

The Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts or the College of Journalism and Mass Communications expects students who are submitting their senior project to both the college and the Honors Program to enroll in 3 credits of a major-based 499H, usually divided over the final two semesters. See your college advisor for permission.

For those students whose major does not offer 399H/499H hours or who are working on a project outside their major, UHON 499H is available. This class may be taken for 1-6 hours (and no more than 6 hours total per degree). Generally students enroll in 1-3 hours in any one term.