Honors Thesis Examination must be completed according to the Honors Program Calendar.
What should you (the student) expect during your Honors Thesis Defense?
Your thesis defense should take about an hour. It usually begins with brief introductory remarks made by advisor followed by your presentation (~30 minutes) illustrating your thesis and the contribution that it makes to relevant academic community. The audience (general audience and thesis examination committee members) has an opportunity for questions at the conclusion of your presentation. The general audience is then asked to leave, and the examination committee has an opportunity to ask the student additional questions in private; the department/program chair is welcome to stay and participate. The student is asked to leave, and the thesis examination committee discusses the thesis and determines the outcome: pass, conditional pass, or fail. At this time the committee should make a note of any revisions that should be made before the final submission. You (the student) are then called back to learn the outcome and, if necessary, discuss the requested revisions. Defenses of creative theses may follow an alternative framework (See document: Guidelines for Creative Theses provided by contacting the Honors Council Chair).
Instructions for the advisor conducting the thesis defense:
The thesis advisor bears formal responsibility for conducting the thesis examination and delivering the Defense Form to the Council chair. The honors council recommends a public defense whenever possible. The entire thesis examination committee should agree beforehand whether consensus or majority vote will determine the outcome of the defense. The thesis examination committee should also briefly discuss if they wish to nominate the thesis for the Miller Prize (See below).
The signed and completed Honors Thesis Defense Form must be returned by the last day of classes to the Honor's Council chair (electronic via email or paper version is acceptable).
Instructions for the Miller Prize (best Honors Thesis)
If a student is nominated for the Miller Prize (description) a letter making a case for consideration must be signed by all Thesis Examination Committee Members and submitted to the Honor's Council chair by April 25 (electronic via email or paper version is acceptable). The letter that requests consideration of a candidate for the Miller Prize must be accompanied by a copy of the thesis, including an abstract. The thesis and the supporting letters will be made available to Honor Council members. Theses submitted in paper version will be returned to the advisor after the final decision has been made.
The Honors Council, including the representatives of the Honors Council on Thesis Examination Committees, will meet on Reading Day to consider nominees and construct a short list of candidates. If any member of the Honors Council has signed a letter for a candidate, they will be expected to recuse themselves at any appropriate times during the discussion. If necessary, the Advisor of the Honors Thesis may be asked to attend a portion of the selection meeting to present the merits of their candidate's thesis. If the Advisor is unable to attend the Honors Council meeting on reading day, the second reader may be asked to present the merits of the thesis.