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Honors Thesis Information

UPDATED THESIS HANDBOOK (Everything you wanted to know about writing a thesis but were afraid to ask)

What is a thesis?

When do I start?

How do I start?

Is there paperwork that needs to be filed before I begin?

What is the format for the thesis?

What are the requirements for length?

What are the presentation requirements?

Where do I present my thesis?

What are the deadlines for the thesis/creative component?

What exactly will I turn in to the Honors College office?

For the professor

Selected thesis abstracts

Thesis approval page/cover sheet

Thesis Director Recommendation Form for Electronic Availability of Thesis

What is a thesis?

According to the Policies and Procedures of The Honors College at Oklahoma State University (section 4-5), the application form for the Departmental or College Honors Award "shall contain a working title for the senior honors thesis, report, or creative component." While most students research a topic of interest in their majors and develop a paper on that topic, there are many ways to approach this capstone to your honors education. For example, in the past students have written or directed plays, videotaped a musical performance, etc. Honors theses may also serve as projects for college requirements. For instance, engineering students must complete a senior project in order to graduate. With careful planning, one project, with small alterations, may meet both the requirements for the College of Engineering and The Honors College. The main focus should be on developing a thesis or project that represents original scholarly or creative work.

When do I start?

Typically, work on the thesis is begun at the end of the junior or beginning of the senior year. Students in the college of Arts and Sciences must enroll in a one-hour thesis preparation course, which allows the students and faculty to begin developing ideas for the thesis, the semester before actually undertaking the thesis, unless specifically exempted by the Arts and Sciences Honors Committee on the basis of a written recommendation from the faculty thesis director. To request an exemption, pick up a form in the Honors College office, 101 Old Central, and take it to the faculty member who will serve as your thesis director. The faculty member should fill out the form and return it to the Honors College office. The request should detail your research experience and indicate how this experience prepares you for the project you’re planning to undertake. You will be notified of the committee’s decision by the Honors College Director.

How do I start?

The first step is to come up with some topics you are interested in pursuing. After you have a general idea, you will need to approach a faculty member for help. Your thesis director should be someone in your major who is well versed in the area you plan to study as well as someone you will feel comfortable working closely with for an extended period of time. You will also need to find a faculty member to serve as the second reader for your thesis. This individual will review your work, offer suggestions and participate in you oral thesis defense, but his/her involvement will not be as extensive as that of the thesis director.

Is there paperwork that needs to be filed before I begin?

YES! The Departmental or College Honors Award application form (the "blue form") must be filed with the Honors College office BEFORE you begin the semester in which you plan to write your senior honors thesis or undertake the senior creative component. According to the Policies and Procedures of The Honors College at Oklahoma State University (section 4-5), "The award application form shall contain a working title for the senior honors thesis, report, or creative component as well as the names of two faculty members who will serve as the student’s committee. Prior to submission to the Honors College office, the award application shall be approved and signed by the faculty member responsible for directing the senior honors thesis, report, or creative component and by the honors director of the student’s college."

What is the format for the thesis?

The Honors College does not specify a thesis format (other than including the approval signature page at the beginning and following with a one-page abstract). Formats for the theses vary according to discipline. Your thesis director should be able to guide you in selecting the proper format for your field of study.

What are the requirements for length?

There are no formal requirements as to length of the honors thesis. What is important is that the thesis represents a significant piece of work that is well written and well presented.

What are the presentation requirements?

According to the Policies and Procedures of The Honors College at Oklahoma State University (section 4-7): "Candidates for the Departmental or College Honors Award shall make a public presentation of a summary of their thesis, project, or creative component in a colloquium sponsored by a Department, one of the undergraduate Colleges, or The Honors College. The method of presentation shall be that deemed appropriate for the discipline by the faculty members who serve on the student’s committee. Only in circumstances in which the dean or honors director of a college petitions the Director of The Honors College for a waiver of the presentation requirement may a student be excused from this requirement."

Where do I present my thesis?

The College of Arts and Sciences and The William S. Spears School of Business hold thesis colloquia near the end of each semester. The Honors Directors of those two colleges will notify you and your thesis director of the time and place of these presentation opportunities. Typically, students are allotted 10-15 minutes to present a summary of their thesis, report, or creative component in these settings. The College of Human Sciences holds the Kathleen Briggs Undergraduate Scholars Forum near the end of the spring semester. The Human Sciences Honors Director will notify you and your thesis director of the time and place of the Forum along with poster specifications. The Forum allows presentations in poster format only. Students in other colleges should consult their thesis directors for guidance in this matter.

What are the deadlines for the thesis/creative component?

Your thesis director will aid you in determining a project timeline for the completion, defense, and presentation of the thesis, report, or creative component. According to The Policies and Procedures of The Honors College at Oklahoma State University (section 4-8), "The deadline for filing the approved copy of the thesis, report, or other creative component shall be the last day on which grades may be reported for the semester or summer session."

What exactly will I turn in to the Honors College office?

According to Policies and Procedures of The Honors College at Oklahoma State University (section 4-8), "Candidates for the Departmental or College Honors Award shall file one approved copy of the thesis, report, or other creative component and a one-page abstract of findings with the Honors College office. In addition to the text, in a style and format appropriate to the discipline, the copy filed shall include an approval page as specified by The Honors College which shall contain the original signatures of at least two faculty members [the thesis director and second reader] and of the honors director of the student’s College along with the date of the successful defense of the senior honors thesis, report, or creative component." Examples of abstracts from a variety of disciplines appear below. All honors theses are on file in Special Collections area of the Edmon Low Library and may be consulted. Just go to 101 Old Central and ask an honors advisor to direct you to theses from your area of interest.

For the professor

Many students’ first question is "How do I enroll in my thesis?" Professors who are willing to serve as thesis directors will typically contact their department head to set up an honors thesis section under their department’s course prefix (e.g.,. ECON 4990) and the student will be allowed to enroll in that section through the normal enrollment process. If the department does not have honors thesis sections set up, the student may use HONR 4990 for the thesis course. If this is the case, students will need to get an enrollment memo for their section from the Director of The Honors College.

What is the professor’s role as thesis director or second reader? [Students in the Arts and Sciences College are required to enroll in a one-hour thesis prep course (HONR 3000) the semester before they plan to complete their thesis. Thesis directors should plan to serve as the professor for this independent study course and then continue their role into the actual thesis course. Thesis prep exists to allow students and faculty the opportunity to begin developing ideas for the thesis.]

It is The Honors College’s expectation that thesis directors will assist students in developing ideas for a topic, define the format the student will use and be available to the student throughout the thesis experience for advice, support and direction. The Honors College suggests that the thesis director, second reader and student work together to establish appropriate deadlines for drafts and other "milestones" in the thesis project. The Honors College expects the faculty to participate in the thesis defense, whatever form that takes, and to attend the public presentation. Faculty guidance is essential for honors students to have a positive thesis experience, and The Honors College thanks you for your time.

Selected thesis abstracts

   
   

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