Winthrop University: Honors Program - Thesis Goals & Guidelines

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Honors Program

Honors Thesis Goals & Guidelines


  1. An honors thesis allows a student to complete a substantial project which applies the knowledge gained in the major(s), demonstrates a practical command of research techniques and writing ability, and shows the student's ability to work independently.

  2. The thesis should serve as a useful transition to graduate study or as the culmination of work in the major(s) and in the Honors Program. Although most students complete the thesis during the senior year, some juniors are advised to complete the thesis during that year.


  1. The thesis should examine a significant problem in the theory, research, or practice of the major discipline(s) and should argue persuasively for some conclusion based on the thorough review of the literature. When appropriate the collection and interpretation of data should be included. The thesis may consist of an original research project or a critical literature review.

  2. The student will select the topic of the thesis and select a thesis director who is familiar with the topic in question. The student and director will then decide on the remainder of the thesis committee which will consist of two faculty readers. The student, director, and readers will work together throughout the duration of the project. The thesis director will assign the course grade in consultation with the two readers.

  3. The responsibility of the thesis director is to give guidance to the student during the semester, provide the student with a timeline for completion with specific deadlines and penalties for missed deadlines. The deadlines should require that the student circulate a draft of the thesis to the thesis director and readers one month before the thesis is due. This will allow ample time for revisions. The thesis director will provide detailed critiques throughout the project and will convene with the two thesis readers and the student occasionally to report progress.

  4. The student will submit an Honors Program Thesis Description form signed by the appropriate parties.  It should be received by the Honors Program Director the semester prior to the semester in which the thesis is written. The form states the date it is due and should be filled out by the student in consultation with the thesis director.

  5. For honors thesis credit, the student will register for the appropriate course in the major discipline or for HONR450H for 3 credit hours depending on the student's major requirements during the semester in which the thesis is written. The student will also enroll in HONR451H Honors Thesis Symposium for 1 credit hour at the time the thesis is written.

  6. A thesis which represents honors level work will receive a grade of B or better in order to count towards the completion of an Honors Program Degree.

  7. The suggested length of the thesis is 25 to 50 pages, including prefatory material and documentation. The thesis must be word processed, 12 pt. type, double-spaced with 1-1/2 inch margins on the left, top and bottom, and with 1 inch margins on the right. The cover page should include the title of the thesis and the student's name centered in the top 1/3 of the page and spaces for the director and two readers to sign in the bottom l/3 of the page. The students will be given instructions on formatting in HONR451H.

  8. One copy of the thesis is due into the Honors Program Director on the last Monday of classes during the semester in which the thesis is written. The Honors Program will have the thesis bound; therefore it should not be stapled or fastened in any way. Many departments and thesis advisors request copies, but that is optional.

  9. Documentation and attribution should follow APA guidelines, MLA guidelines, or specific guidelines determined by the thesis director. The thesis must include a thorough review of the appropriate literature, an abstract, a bibliography and complete references.

Last Updated: 10/14/20