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College Honors

Completing, Defending, & Certifying the College Honors Thesis

Once an application is approved, the Committee does not have any further oversight regarding the content of the student's thesis. The only remaining function of the Committee is to certify to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences that the student's thesis has been successfully completed.

Once the proposal has been approved by the Committee, the student should secure two additional people to serve as an advisory committee. The bulk of the work on a College Honors thesis is carried out in consultation with the student's thesis supervisor, although, members of the advisory committee may wish to be involved as well.

College Honors students are expected to:

  • Produce the thesis itself.
  • Defend the thesis in an oral examination (a "defense") before a three-person "thesis committee" comprised of the following people secured by the student:
    • The student's thesis supervisor (who must be tenured/tenure-track).
    • A faculty mentor from outside the department in which the thesis was completed, who will serve as chair of the committee. (The chair conducts the defense.)
    • Another faculty mentor, typically from the same department as the student's thesis supervisor.
Specific steps in the completion of the thesis:
  1. Schedule a defense, which must be held on or before the Friday of the last week of classes of the second semester of thesis work:
    1. Talk to your three committee members and find a day, time, and location they (and you) can all agree to.
    2. Ensure that your Thesis Supervisor submits the Schedule of the College Honors Thesis Defense form at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled defense.
  2. Submit one copy of the thesis to each member of your thesis committee at least one week prior to the date of the scheduled defense.
  3. Print out the Evaluation of the College Honors Thesis Defense form for your thesis committee to complete at your defense.
  4. Attend your defense:
    1. At the defense, you will be asked to explain your project and answer a series of questions about it.
    2. A defense will normally last between 1.5 and 2 hours.
    3. After the questioning ends, you will be excused while your thesis committee decides whether the thesis and oral defense are of a quality sufficient for earning College Honors, and assigns a grade for the 6 credits of thesis work. Your thesis supervisor should ensure that the grade for your thesis is applied to both semesters of College Honors work. This will involve your thesis supervisor contacting the chair of their department to make sure the grades for the thesis have been submitted. Please contact the Dean's Office with any questions about this process.
    4. Your thesis committee may recommend that some corrections be made to the written thesis. These corrections should generally be completed within a week following the defense. You may be asked to submit a copy of the corrected thesis to one or more members of your committee.
    5. At this point, the chair of your thesis committee will complete the Evaluation of the College Honors Thesis Defense form and return it to the Honors Committee (by way of the Dean's Office at 438 College Street). This form must be received in the Dean's Office by the last day of the examination period in the second semester of the project. In addition, you must submit one copy of the defended and corrected thesis to the Honors Committee (438 College Street) by that date. At that point, the Chair of the Honors Committee will certify that the thesis work has been completed successfully. The chair of the Honors Committee will instruct the Registrar to designate "Awarded College Honors" on the student's transcript. The thesis will then be deposited in the University Archives.

Last modified August 31 2011 04:27 PM

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