Honors Thesis and Thesis Prep Information
An Honors Thesis (or creative component) is spread across two semesters. The first semester is dedicated to thesis prep, while the second semester is dedicated to carrying out and finalizing the project.
Thesis Prep (completed prior to the Thesis)
Generally speaking, we (the Honors folks) are quite relaxed when it comes to thesis prep requirements. There’s no need to formally document meetings with the student or even create an official syllabus for the class (we try to not create more work than necessary for faculty). It can be beneficial though, for both the student and faculty member, to have a discussion on what the overall expectations for the semester will be.
As far as Honors is concerned, thesis prep is intended to be an experience in which a student starts laying the foundation for an upcoming independent project (i.e. selecting a research topic/creative project, gaining useful experience, gathering resources, requesting IRB training if needed, etc.). Faculty members retain full discretion for how they choose to evaluate a student for their thesis prep as well as what they require. Some faculty are more hands-on and have regular meetings with stated deliverables while others prefer to check in less frequently and trust the student to be more self-guided.
For faculty who are new to the Honors Thesis process, it can be helpful to see what previous students from your department have submitted as their thesis/creative component. Knowing what the final project might look like could help with envisioning what a prep semester might entail. To receive examples of past thesis submissions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405.744.6799.
We do have a thesis handbook available for students embarking on their thesis journey. If you would like to take a glance at it, you can find it here. The handbook was developed with students in mind, but much of the information can be useful for faculty as well.
Now that a student has had a semester of preparation, they should use their thesis semester to carry the project to the finish line. What do we expect for a final submission? Again, a lot of deference is given to a student's thesis advisor and second reader since current faculty members will be more well-versed in what is considered appropriate for their individual fields of expertise. “The Honors College does not specify requirements for length or format of the thesis. These are determined by your discipline and by your thesis committee. You will, however, present and defend your project at the end of the semester. Some of the undergraduate colleges have specific colloquia designed for honors thesis presentations, and others are open to scheduling by you and your thesis committee.”
If a faculty member needs more guidance as to what constitutes an appropriate thesis project for their department, please feel free to contact your College's Honors Director. It is the Honors Director for your College who will have a role in determining whether or not a student satisfactorily completed their thesis component. You can find a list of College Honors Directors here.