Thesis prep: required courses, finding a thesis advisor, timing, and study abroad considerations
|During junior year (fall or spring) Honors College students in the College of Arts and Sciences must enroll in one of the following Honors Enrichment Contract (HEC) courses:|
- HCOL 3881 (formerly HON 196A): a 1-credit, binding agreement with a faculty member for enriched course work in one 100+-level 3-credit course taught by that faculty member. In general, a one-credit HEC would entail about three hours of additional work per week.
- HCOL 3882 (formerly HON 196B): a 3-credit undergraduate research project taking place in a laboratory/field/studio setting, also specifically contracted with a faculty member. In general, for each credit of HON 196B, the Lab/Studio/Performance Space HEC must include around 3 hours/week in the lab/studio/performance space (working alongside and in regular consultation with their faculty mentor). Thus, a 3-credit HEC would entail approximately 7 to 8 hours of work each week.
- HCOL 3883 (formerly HON 196C): At least 3 credits of focused and customized pre-thesis work in the form of a readings and research project. HON 196C must also be specifically contracted with a faculty member. Students should carefully plan the semester of their HEC so that a faculty member with expertise in the area of intended research is available to work with them. Ideally, this faculty member will then serve as their thesis adviser. In general, a 3-credit HEC would entail approximately 7 to 8 hours of work each week.
These courses can be taken for variable credit and spread over two semesters.
Students studying abroad for their entire junior year should either take the HEC course in the spring of their sophomore year or arrange (with approval from the CAS Dean's Office) to complete an HEC-type project as part of their junior year study abroad.
Honors College students in the College of Arts and Sciences must also take HCOL 3000 (formerly HON 101). HCOL 3000 is a 1-credit thesis prep course offered in both fall and spring. Students will ordinarily take HCOL 3000 in the spring semester of junior year; HCOL 3000 should be taken in the fall semester if a student plans to study abroad during the spring semester.
HCOL 3000 may be waived via the submission of a waiver request form completed by the student and their thesis supervisor. Students eligible for a waiver of the HCOL 3000 requirement include the following:
Students typically identify a thesis advisor through courses taken in their major department, through their HEC work, or through the curriculum of HCOL 3000.
- Students studying abroad for their entire junior year.
- Environmental Studies students enrolled in NR3010
- Students who are already engaged in their honors research project.
More information on junior year requirements (both the HEC & HCOL 3000), including the HON 3000 waiver request form, can be found here.
|Thesis proposal: materials required, proposal timeline & deadlines|
A College Honors application, formal 8-page thesis proposal, and faculty recommendation form must be submitted for approval by the CAS Honors Committee. Students can submit the proposal either during the spring of their junior year, or in the early fall of their senior year.
To submit an application, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher at the time of application. Application forms, examples of successful proposals from past years, and specific guidelines and deadlines for applying for College Honors are available here.It is important to note a terminological item that can be confusing. CAS designates its senior honors thesis project the "College Honors Thesis." Students in CAS who are not in the Honors College, but who have a GPA of 3.40 or higher, can also write a College Honors Thesis. So, the terminological item: Honors College students in CAS must write the College Honors Thesis.
|The thesis: structure, timing, and enrollment|
The College Honors Thesis a two semester, 6-credit hour research project. Students will register for the appropriate 3-credit SUBJX 4996 section (depending on the department in which they are pursuing their thesis) in the fall & spring semester of their senior year. Research updates, progress reports, and other meetings are determined by agreement with the student's individual thesis advisor.
During the senior year, the thesis advisor will help the student find two additional faculty members to serve on the thesis defense committee. More information is available here.
Honors College students in the College of Arts and Sciences must also take HCOL 4000 (formerly HON 201) during their fall & spring semester of their senior year. HCOL 4000 is a zero-credit seminar that brings together students writing their College Honors Theses in semi-monthly meetings to share their research problems, concerns and findings.
When thesis credits are spread across multiple semesters, students making satisfactory progress towards completion of the thesis in the first semester are awarded a grade of Satisfactory Progress (SP) for their first semester of thesis research, and course credit is awarded. (Unsatisfactory Progress receives a grade of UP, and no credit is awarded.) When the student finishes the second semester and earns a final thesis grade, the instructor assigns that grade for the second semester, and changes the fall grade of SP to match the final grade. The temporary SP grade does not affect a student's GPA. Once the final thesis grade is entered and the fall SP is converted to a standard letter grade, that letter grade is calculated as part of the GPA.
|Thesis due date||The completed thesis is due to the advisor and defense committee at least one week prior to the scheduled defense.|
|Thesis defense requirements||Students must complete an hour-long oral defense before their 3-person thesis committee. Generally, the defense must be held on or before the Friday of the last week of classes of the second semester of thesis work. Specific dates may vary in different academic years, and are available on the Important Dates tab here.|
|Additional thesis presentation requirements||Students are encouraged to present their work at the Student Research Conference, held in the Davis Center in the spring.|
|Notes, web resources, and thesis contact in the college|
Specific deadlines and more information about the College Honors Thesis are available at http://www.uvm.edu/cas/timetable_honors_work. Additional College of Arts and Sciences curriculum information for Honors College students is also available at http://www.uvm.edu/cas/honors_opportunities.
Find information on completing and defending the honors thesis here: https://www.uvm.edu/cas/completing_and_defending_honors_theses
Students may contact Amelia Wilcox (802.656.3344, email@example.com) in the College of Arts and Sciences with any questions about curriculum, College Honors Thesis requirements, or deadlines.