What exactly is an Honors thesis?
The Honors thesis is your capstone Honors experience, an opportunity to craft a project that showcases the kinds of mature, educated, and developed critical thinking that is the hallmark of the Honors educational experience. It should reflect your best thinking and work after several years of university work. Some students produce traditional written research papers; others produce creative projects. The latter typically include projects in the fine arts (a series of paintings, a collection of short stories, a novel, a play, a choreographed dance, a musical composition or performance, etc.), but can also include creations that don’t lend themselves to a written research paper (a computer program, an app, a technological creation, an invention, etc.). In either case, what is presented as the thesis shows this advanced thinking, whether the end product is a written work or a creative project. Also, regardless of whether you do a traditional written thesis or a creative project, you will write an accompanying process analysis statement in which you reflect on your thesis process, any great obstacles or epiphanies you encountered, and your sense of the quality and meaning of your work.
At its heart the thesis is an investigation into a question, theme, problem, or issue and the presentation of your answer(s) or response. The process and product of those investigations vary, as they should. For many students, what they pursue and how they pursue it is tied to their majors, though this doesn’t have to be the case. History majors often do historical research projects and write traditional research papers. Biology majors often carry out experiments in the lab or field. Theater majors often write plays or design sets. Art majors make art. You get the idea. In essence, for cases like these, you’re using the thinking skills you’ve developed in your Honors courses to further your work in your major. It can also be useful to think ahead to your post-BSU life. If you’re planning to do biological research work in graduate school, it can make sense to do a really good scientific experiment to show future grad schools you know what you’re doing.
Completed Honors theses are archived in Bracken Library and are available online from 1963.
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