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.
That said, it also perfectly fine if you just want to investigate something you’re into. Find an advisor, get the topic approved, and go for it! Either way, you’ll be using those thinking skills to explore something you love. If you don’t love your topic, get a new one. Life’s too short to work on boring projects. Bring some passion to it and you’ll do your best work! You might even have some fun.
The Honors thesis is not a regular course with regular meeting times but it is a real course. It’s similar to an independent study with the course designation HONR 499, for which you earn three credit hours. You register for these credits during the appropriate semester for you (usually during your senior year). You should consider the workload equivalent to taking a regular 3-credit-hour course, with hours of work each week devoted to your thesis, just as if you were in a regular class that meets several times per week. It can be difficult to remember this so there is more on how to do this in the thesis guide. You’ll meet with your advisor on a regular basis, and when the project is completed, your advisor will evaluate your work and submit a final letter grade for you, just as he or she would for a regular course.
Find out all the details about producing your senior thesis/creative project in
Senior Thesis Guide.
Thesis Guide Introduction: What Is It and How Do I Complete It?
Thesis Guide Part 1: How to Plan and Prepare Your Thesis Topic and Proposal
Thesis Guide Part 2: How to Carry Out Your Thesis Project Once It Is Approved
Thesis Guide Part 3: How to Submit the Thesis (Formatting and Other Formal Rules)
Thesis Guide Part 4: Examples and Forms
Information for Faculty Mentors