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General Expectations

Each thesis is individual and reflects each student's original thoughts and work, but there are some general expectation that apply to all Honors theses.

1. The Thesis Proposal

The Honors Thesis Proposal should be written by the student and must be in the student's own words. If a student is working on a larger project created by a professor, a student may quote from the professor's research proposal as long as it is clear the the material is being quoted. All quoted material should be properly cited.

2. The Written Component:

The length of your thesis depends on your field. The page minimums listed below do not include the thesis bibliography, supplementary material, or appendices.

Remember: all Honors theses will go through multiple drafts!!

  • Humanities: Generally at least 30 pages long
  • Sciences: 15-30 pages long (Biology is generally 10-15 pages long)
  • Education: 15-20 pages long (Approximately the length of a journal article)
  • Engineering: Project write-ups are about 25 pages long
  • Business: 25 pages long. (Business students who elect to do the internship option for the thesis project are still required to do a write-up at least 25 pages long)
  • Creative Project: If you're thesis is a creative project, the written component of your thesis must include research and must be at least 10 pages long.

*Students should see their Departmental Honors Advisor for any additional requirements.

3. The Research Component:

  • Your thesis should reflect your original research (such as an experiment, analysis of quantitative or qualitative data, literary or historical analysis, etc.)
  • Your thesis should include a review of the scholarly literature that places your research in the context of an existing scholarly conversation. The literature review should be substantial and cover at least 15 sources.

*Sometimes a literature review will do the work of a bibliography, depending on your field. Check with your Departmental Honors Advisor.

**If you will be doing research involving human subjects (i.e. talking to children/adults/elderly individuals, doing surveys, etc.) you might need to get IRB approval. Click the links below for more info:

4. Time/Credits Component:

  • All students must register for thesis credit; usually 3 credit hours
  • Register for HONR 4900 or the thesis class in your major to receive thesis credit

*Consult the Departmental Honors page for special thesis instructions for your major.
**Even if you don't register for 3 credits of thesis, your thesis should look like you did. This means you should be devoting about 10 hours per week to meetings, research, etc. for your thesis.

5. The Thesis Advisor:

You are not alone!!!! You will work closely with a Thesis Advisor who will:

  • Help refine and focus your interests into an appropriate thesis project
  • Provide clear expectations and guidelines
  • Provide advice about post-graduation plans
  • Help you put together a sound thesis that adequately reflects your research and conclusions

There are a few requirements for advisors:

  • All Honors Thesis Advisors must be full-time faculty members of Utah State University
  • Like Honors instructors, they should have a terminal degree in their field

*If a visiting or part-time instructor's input is desired, they may serve as additional members of the Honors Thesis Committee.

6. The Thesis Committee:

Your Thesis Committee can periodically review your work and provide comments and requests for revision that will improve your thesis. They will also participate in your thesis defense, if one is scheduled.

Committee requirements include:

  • Composed, at minimum, of your Thesis Advisor and your Departmental Honors Advisor
  • Additional faculty members may sit on the committee, especially if you desire input from a faculty member outside of your department
  • All committee members must sign off on the thesis, and the thesis cover page must be amended to include additional signatures

*All theses must contain the signature approval of the Honors Director
**With written approval from the Honors Director, a faculty member other than the Departmental Honors Advisor may sit on the committee.

Note for Biology students: Biology requires an Honors Thesis Committee of two faculty members. The first will always be the students' Thesis Advisor. The second should be a faculty member who works in a similar or complementary field, but is not necessarily the Departmental Honors Advisor. Students are asked to remember that faculty members doing research in biology might be in many departments around campus. The Departmental Honors Advisor will continue to sign off on each thesis.

7. The Public Presentation Component:

  • All Honors theses must be publicly presented
  • Spring graduates should participate in Student Showcase in March

*Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions for preparing for your presentation.