University Scholars students complete a thesis that allows them to delve deeply into a research topic or creative project that is of great interest to them. Students choose a topic and faculty mentor and become an expert on that subject through reading, research, synthesis and writing that spans up to two years. Students present their research and defend their thesis project. The thesis work is bound and is a physical example of their scholarship, writing ability and critical thinking. The work of the thesis may be used as a writing sample, part of a publication, or it may be discussed in an application or an interview to distinguish the University Scholars student from other excellent students. In all cases, the thesis process provides students with a singular experience and evidence that they can successfully take on difficult, sustained work. The research skills and dedication revealed by the thesis project is the mark of a scholar educated in the liberal arts and sciences.
The Thesis may be an extended study on a research topic of the Scholars choice or a creative project that reflects the Scholar’s artistic interests. Any creative project such as a musical performance or an artistic work must include a written component although it need not be as lengthy as a research thesis.
Although Scholars typically do not begin writing the thesis until their senior year, preparation for the thesis begins much earlier. Below are brief descriptions of the courses required for thesis preparation and completion and a recommended schedule. There are exceptions to this schedule, such as for students pursuing a lab thesis and students who study abroad. Scholars should consult a UNSC advisor to confirm the schedule that works best for their course of study.
Adv. Reading & Research
In HON 3100, students identify a research topic, work with a research librarian to begin compiling readings for the thesis, and learn how to find a thesis advisor. By the end of the semester, students are responsible for selecting a thesis advisor to work with during HON 3101. They must also submit a reading contract signed by their thesis advisor, which outlines their research plan, to be completed during HON 3101.
Fall of junior year
Adv. Reading & Research
In HON 3101, students complete the research plan outlined in their reading contract with their thesis advisor. At the end of the semester, students complete a proposal that identifies the thesis argument and brief chapter outlines. The thesis proposal should be signed and approved by the thesis advisor and submitted to the Honors office on Canvas. Students may also begin drafting a tentative first chapter of the thesis project. After completing HON 3101, each Honors student may begin the Honors Thesis courses (HON 4V87). Scholars enrolling in HON 3101 should register with their thesis advisor.
Spring of junior year
Scholars complete HON 4V87 while conducting research and writing their thesis. The course is supervised by the student's thesis advisor. As a variable hour course, HON 4V87 may be completed for 1-4 hours of credit during a given semester depending upon the consent of the instructor and approval from the Honors Program. Scholars are required to take a total of 4 credit hours of 4V87. Typically, students register for two hours of Honors Thesis during their penultimate semester and two hours during their final semester. Scholars enrolling in HON 4V87 should register with their thesis advisor.
Fall and Spring of senior year.
Honors Exit Review
In the final semester before graduation, all Scholars should complete HON 4088, the Honors Exit Review. This serves primarily as an administrative check to ensure that all program requirements are fulfilled for a student to be certified as a graduate of University Scholars and the Honors Program. Please see the course syllabus here.