Honors Thesis/Senior Project

The Honors Thesis/Senior Project 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.

Students may have the opportunity to enroll in UHON 298H: Starting Your Honors Thesis, a zero or one-credit course that demystifies the thesis process and helps students understand the steps in successful thesis planning.



In the traditional research thesis, the student conducts research appropriate to her/his field of study and writes a paper about the research results. This option is most popular for students applying to professional or graduate schools, those entering professions where research is a key skillset, or who find enjoyment in the intellectual challenge of inquiry, investigation, and experimentation. Expected scope of research project and length of written thesis will vary by discipline, but is generally equivalent to the work produced as a seminar project in a master’s class in that field.

Beckman Scholars, May 3, 2013

Creative Project

This option is similar to the traditional thesis, in that it involves research and a broad knowledge of the relevant discipline as the foundation for the creative project. Building upon that foundation, the student produces a creative demonstration of skill and knowledge appropriate to the field of study. This option is most popular for students in the fine or performing arts. Often the creative project is accompanied by a written document explaining the creative choices the student made and situating them within contexts of various artistic styles or movements. Expected scope of the creative project will vary by discipline, but exceeds simply an undergraduate senior show or recital.

Honors student playing piano in Neihardt


The Honors Thesis/Senior Project is a long-term project that will require you to plan ahead. The average student spends about 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.

Here is a sample timeline for a student planning to graduate in May 2020:

Graduation timeline

You may pick up a copy of this timeline with a blank version for you and your faculty mentor to complete in the Honors Office or download here.

The Thesis Prospectus form is due to Honors at the start of your sixth semester in Honors (January 31 or September 15). However, if you plan to graduate early, we advise you to submit the Prospectus form early – at least by the start of the semester one year prior to your anticipated graduation date. So, if you plan to graduate in May or August 2020, you would submit your prospectus no later than January 31, 2019. For December 2020 graduates, the prospectus is recommended no later than September 15, 2019.

Please note that if you are also submitting your thesis to your college in order to be considered for a level of distinction, the college timelines and due dates may differ. Please see further information about the college-based distinction process below.

*Defense only applicable if submitting the thesis to your college for distinction consideration. 

The finished thesis and signed Thesis Completion form are due to the Honors Program office by the following dates:

Expected Graduation DateThesis Due Date
December 2017 October 23, 2017
May 2018 March 12, 2018
August 2018 July 13, 2018
December 2018 October 22, 2018
May 2019 March 11, 2019
August 2019 July 15, 2019
December 2019 October 21, 2019
May 2020 March 16, 2020
August 2020 July 13, 2020
December 2020 October 19, 2020

Graduating with Distinction

In some colleges, students may use their Honors thesis/senior project to earn distinction at graduation. Requirements and expectations for a thesis/senior project earning distinction vary by college and sometimes department.

FAQs about Thesis/Senior Project