Proposing a Thesis

To be accepted into the Honors Program, a student must submit an honors proposal for approval by the adviser, co-adviser or second reader in the student's major, and the Honors Council. See the proposal preparation guidelines below for information about writing an honors proposal. Due dates for submitting proposals, submitting the completed thesis and completing the oral examinations are indicated on the Honors Program Calendar.

The Honors Council will not accept proposals during the same semester the student expects to graduate.

For students wishing to use LaTex for their thesis, LaTeX templates and class files are available at here.

Research Involving Human Subjects

If your research involves human subjects, including surveys or interviews, your proposal will require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Usually, approval is straightforward. Many students in psychology, sociology or education working with human subjects may need more extensive review and approval by the IRB. For more information, contact:

Professor Matthew Slater, IRB Chair

Faculty Letter of Intent and Letter of Nomination

Letter of Intent to Direct a Thesis: The Honors Council requests that the adviser submit the intent to direct a thesis online form by the deadline listed in the Honors Program calendar. This form will automatically generate a request for the chair of the chosen department to approve of the student's nomination based on the student's academic standing in the department. The department or program chair is asked to independently review the nomination based on the student's academic performance in the major and relative to other students in the major.

Letter of Nomination: A letter of nomination must be submitted via the online form or sent by email to the chair of Honors Council by the deadline listed in the Honors Program calendar. The letter of nomination for all nominated students should:

  1. Provide the student's GPA, overall and in major.
  2. Detail the merit of the thesis.
  3. Discuss the qualifications of the student pursuing honors.
  4. Be signed by the adviser and a co-adviser or second reader.

For students not meeting the GPA requirement (3.5 cumulative or in major), the letter of nomination should also:

  1. Provide details regarding the student's performance in their major.
  2. Address the student's ability to successfully complete the thesis.
  3. Clearly address any extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to their GPA.

Please contact the chair of the Honors Council with questions.

Preparation Guidelines

The due date for honors proposals is provided in the Honors Program calendar.

The body of the proposal should be limited to seven pages of text (double-spaced using a 12 point font), plus a bibliography and appendices. The proposal should include:

  1. A thesis statement or concise description of the topic of study. This statement or description should indicate clearly the objective(s) of the project. If the project is very technical in nature, the topic should be described in terms that are understandable to an educated non-specialist in that field.
  2. A description of the project.
  3. A plan for accomplishing the objective(s) of the project. The specific details of how to write this section of the proposal will vary by academic discipline and, in some cases, by sub-field within a discipline. The council encourages advisers who are inexperienced with honors proposal writing to consult with their department heads and other colleagues about the structure of past successful thesis proposals.
  4. A discussion of the independent contribution of the student. How does this project relate to the overall research of the adviser? What is the student's intellectual contribution?
  5. A discussion of the significance of the project.
  6. A bibliography at the end of the proposal.
  7. A title page formatted as shown in this example (PDF).

Submitting Your Proposal

To submit your proposal for review:

  1. Print one hard copy of the proposal title page and have it signed by your adviser and your co-adviser or second evaluator. The signed form must be submitted as the title page in your electronic proposal submission. Scan the document and then use Adobe Acrobat to make a final PDF of your proposal with signed title page.
  2. Submit the proposal using the Honors Thesis Proposal Form.

Contact Details

Honors Council


Professor Robert Jacob, Honors Council Chair: 570-577-1791