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 participate in a "Starting Your Honors Senior Project" Workshop or receive individual advising about the thesis process from an Honors advisor.
In four colleges (Arts & Sciences, CASNR, Hixon-Lied Fine & Performing Arts, and Journalsim and Mass Communication), students may also submit a thesis to the college as part of the process to earn a level of distinction. Submitting to both Honors and your college will require two sets of paperwork. See more information on the College processes at the bottom of this page.
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.
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.
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 2022:
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, but separate prospectus and evaluation paperwork is always required.
- College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
- College of Architecture
- College of Arts & Sciences
- College of Business Administration
- College of Education and Human Sciences
- College of Engineering (varies by department)
- College of Fine and Performing Arts
- College of Journalism and Mass Communications
- College of Public Affairs and Community Service
(go to “Degrees with Honors”)