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Suggested Thesis/Capstone Timeline

The University Honors Program recognizes that each student and thesis/capstone project is different and that a variety of circumstances will shape each student’s timeline to completion. Honors offers this suggested timeline as a starting point for students and faculty, who will work closely together to develop a timeline that is realistic and feasible for each other and for the proposed project.

Suggested timeline visualView a visual timeline here.

3-4 Semesters Before Graduation

  • Begin thinking about a project topic in the year before graduation (ideally 4 semesters prior to anticipated graduation term).
  • Enroll in HONR 3900, a one-credit thesis/capstone preparation course. In this course students will…
    • Learn what is required to complete a capstone project.
    • Study samples of outstanding thesis/capstone projects in their fields.
    • Read samples of outstanding thesis/capstone proposals on related topics.
    • Write brief descriptions of their proposed projects to share with prospective faculty mentors.
    • Secure capstone project mentors and complete their own thesis/capstone proposals by the end of the term.

2-3 Semesters Before Graduation

  • Begin project research, working closely with capstone mentor.
  • Develop a detailed work plan and research schedule in collaboration with faculty mentor.
  • Complete any required capstone course for your major.

2 Semesters Before Graduation

  • Continue research and/or begin the writing necessary to complete the thesis/capstone project.
  • Maintain regular contact with capstone project mentor and committee members; be responsible about completing high quality work in a professional manner.
  • Schedule an appointment with Honors Program Coordinator to complete an Honors Graduation Audit prior to the end of the third week of classes. This mandatory appointment will ensure that you have earned enough Honors points to graduate with honors the following semester.

Final Semester

  • Submit drafts to mentor and committee according to the work plan. Since all projects require multiple drafts, meeting scheduled deadlines is crucial. Students should remember that they are involved in professional relationships with their faculty mentors.
  • Complete and document public presentation or defense of the project, which must occur by the last day of classes in the graduation term.
    • FOR SPRING GRADUATES: Students may participate in Student Research Symposium during Research Week. Applications and abstracts are required and are typically due in March.
    • FOR FALL GRADUATES: Students should work with their mentors and the Honors Program office to find appropriate venues for public presentation. 
  • Provide entire committee with a mentor-approved final draft of the project by the deadline in the work plan, at least one week before the last day of classes.
  • Polished, revised, and complete thesis/capstone projects are due to the Honors Program office one week after the last day of classes. When students turn in the completed thesis/capstone project, they must also include the University Honors Cover Page, Thesis/Capstone Evaluation form, documentation of public presentation, and Honors Electronic Thesis/Capstone Approval form.
  • Attend Honors Program medallion ceremony and graduation celebration party!

Download the full Honors Thesis/Capstone Handbook Here