So what is heresthetics? Michelle Maiden '14 presents her research on 'Tournaments and Tournament Solutions' at Meredith's Taste of Research (Sept 2012)
As a culminating project at the end of her college career, each Honors student engages in an extended research project on a topic of her choice, usually in her major. Working one-on-one with a chosen professor, she may engage in library research or field work, conduct a laboratory experiment, prepare a recital or show -- whatever best demonstrates her mastery of a body of knowledge..
- Honors Thesis Information and Guidelines - requirements, FAQs
- 2012-13 Important Dates Checklist for Honors Students writing a thesis
- 2012-13 Important Dates Checklist for Teaching Fellows who also are Honors Students writing a thesis
- 2012-13 Important Dates Checklist for Teaching Fellows (writing an Honors thesis)
- Departmental Guidelines for Honors Theses
- Honors Thesis Form - 498
- Information for Thesis Directors
- Copy and Binding Policies for Honors Students (only applies to Honors students' theses)
- Sample title pages for honors (p.2), honors who are also teaching fellows (p.3), and teaching fellows (p.4)
- New: Electronic Submission (for all Honors Students)
- Past Honors Theses - a list of theses from previous Honors students
Investigate a significant topic and develop a thesis which demonstrates the results and implications of the research. Results may be a paper, an art exhibition, a video, or a special recital.
Information and Guidelines
Requirements of the Honors Program
General Formatting Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Information and Guidelines For a Senior Honors Thesis or Creative Project
As a student in the Honors Program approaches her senior year, she is ready -- perhaps even eager -- to undertake a rigorous, demanding research experience in a chosen field by investigating a significant topic and producing a written thesis which demonstrates the results and implications of this research. In areas such as creative writing, art, music, and some others, a student may wish to demonstrate her educational maturity with a creative project -- by composing a group of short stories, mounting a special exhibition, producing a video, or planning a special recital and performing in it. Whatever a particular student undertakes, however, she needs to bear in mind that the senior honors thesis or creative project functions as the culmination of an honors education, representing final proof of worthiness to be a Meredith College Honors Scholar.
The idea of producing a senior honors thesis or creative project sounds formidable. While an honors thesis/creative project does require greater depth than a typical course-related research paper, this greater depth is the natural outcome of choosing a topic for which her former studies provide ample background. The project requires a commitment to spending an extended period of time on background reading, researching and writing the paper or producing the project. This is why the student will ideally begin work on the thesis project during the semester prior to its submission. This is also why the honors student is encouraged to be thinking about a thesis/project topic as soon as she has had sufficient exposure to her discipline to know what issues and ideas she finds most engaging. The student need not wait to begin working on her honors thesis/creative project until she feels she has attained intellectual brilliance and maturity! Rather, the greater depth required by the thesis will contribute to her intellectual maturity.
What constitutes "greater depth" varies from discipline to discipline. Generally speaking, however, greater depth requires a more thorough understanding of the literature and/or data pertaining to the topic -- the body of knowledge that scholars working in this field use to converse with one another. Greater depth should also involve the student with primary sources; that is, the honors student is less likely to simply rely on what others have said or done and is more likely to bring her own analysis to bear on texts or data. In fields where empirical research is called for, greater depth may mean hands-on involvement with data gathering.
Requirements of the Honors Program
The Honors Program imposes relatively few formal restrictions on the senior honors thesis/creative project. The program has delegated the most authority to the person with acknowledged expertise in the subject matter area -- the thesis director. The honors student may choose to do a thesis in her major (if double majoring, in either major), outside her major, as an interdisciplinary project, or in a creative mode. What happens when the student is working on her thesis is almost entirely a matter between the student and her thesis director.
The Honors Program, however, does have certain requirements regarding the format of the completed thesis or project:
- A thesis should adhere consistently and correctly to a documentation style appropriate for the field of study -- following, for example, such style manuals as those of the MLA, APA, or the University of Chicago. Whatever documentation style a student uses, a bibliography or Works Cited page MUST be included.
- An honors creative project must be in "greater depth" than the general departmental requirements. For example, a student may plan a recital, research and write program notes and arrange for publicity; or, a student may exhibit her own artwork, write a statement describing her sources of artistic inspiration and design a catalog to distribute to those attending the exhibit. Completion of a standard senior recital or art exhibition designed to meet graduation requirement does not constitute a creative project. Whatever the format of the creative project, a bibliography or a Works Cited page MUST be included.
- There is no absolute requirement regarding length of an honors thesis; however, excellence in research and writing is expected. This should be the best project the student has submitted during her academic career and may well serve as an entree to graduate study. The thesis should require more effort than a typical term paper and less effort than a typical master's thesis.
- A student will NOT be allowed to graduate as an Honors Scholar unless PRINTED and DIGITAL copies of the completed thesis or written component has been submitted to the Honors Director by the last day of senior exams for permanent housing in Carlyle Campbell Library. It must be free of errors in grammar and spelling. The digital copy must be in PDF format. The paper copy must be an unmarked original or an excellent copy printed on 100% cotton rag (or thesis paper). [Simply take it to the Copycenter where the professionals will take excellent care of you.]
- Students doing a creative project such as a recital, an art exhibit, or a video must submit paper and digital copies of explanatory text or description of the project and a bibliography or Works Cited page. Ideally, the student should submit an audio or video media file or photographs of the creative project to the Honors Director for housing in Carlyle Campbell Library. The library will bind the theses it receives; therefore, "instant immortality" is achieved for authors, whose names and works are listed in the library catalog. As Shakespeare said: "So long lives this, and this gives life to thee!"
General Formatting Information
- The title page must include: (1)student's name, (2) thesis title, (3) requirement which the thesis fulfills, (4) date of submission to Honors Director, and (5) signatures of the thesis director, the honors student, and Honors Director. Sample title pages are included in this document.
- Papers must be typed and free of error, double-spaced throughout, on one side only of standard-size (8½ x 11") white 100% cotton rag (thesis paper), with a “scholarly” font (Times New Roman size 12 font is appropriate). The text should be double-spaced, except for blocked quotations, notes or footnotes, captions, legends, and long headings, which are to be single-spaced with a space between items.
- Margins and font: Because of the binding the margins should be at least 1¼” on the left and no less than 1" on all other sides. Times New Roman, size 12 font is appropriate for the text, with footnotes or endnotes a minimum of size 10 font. The only exceptions to the 1” top margin rule are the Title page, abstract, first page of the preface (if any), first page of the Table of Contents, and the first page of each chapter (including the Introduction, if any), all of which begin 2” from the top of the page.
- The documentation style (APA, MLA, etc.) should be standard for the discipline and consistent throughout the paper. A bibliography, a reference list or a Works Cited page MUST accompany all honors theses and creative projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should I Sign Up For My Honors Thesis?
Usually a student signs up for an honors thesis or creative project during the preregistration period of the semester prior to writing the thesis. Begin your planning the semester before you plan to write your thesis: getting a topic in mind, finding a thesis director, and discussing your intentions with your thesis director. This way you will be able to begin your reading during the summer or over winter break. When asked to advise current honors students about the thesis process, graduates repeatedly stress the importance of allowing plenty of time to research and prepare their thesis.
Will the Honors Thesis Count Toward My Major or Minor?
Generally, credit for an honors thesis may apply toward fulfilling requirements for the major, minor or elective. However, you should not assume such credit will be given -- secure approval from the chairman of the department involved, and discuss the matter with your academic advisor.
How Do I Find a Topic?
It is important that the topic be of interest to you, since you will be working independently most of the time, without the stimulus of lectures, discussions, and interactions with other students. Topics often are derived from within a student's major areas, but this is not a requirement. In addition, some departments have set topics or projects for honors theses/creative projects. You should familiarize yourself with your departmental regulations by consulting with your major advisor or department head.
A recent Honors Scholar who was a mathematics major deliberately chose to work within her history minor, as she wanted "one last chance" to work in history before entering a career focusing on mathematics and statistics. If you finish a favorite course and wish that you had had more time to investigate a particular aspect of that course, you may decide to turn that desire into a topic for your honors thesis/project. Or perhaps you have only a vague sense of what your topic might be, but you definitely know whom you would like as your thesis director -- if so, you should make an appointment with your prospective thesis director, who may suggest areas for your consideration.
How Do I Find a Thesis Director?
If possible, select someone you know and with whom you feel comfortable. If you cannot think of someone in that category whose expertise seems to fit with the kind of topic you are considering, ask for suggestions from the department involved, from other professors, or from someone in that category whose judgment you trust. In addition, some departments assign professors to advise honors theses in order to equalize the workload, thereby eliminating your choice of thesis director.
How Often Will I Meet with My Thesis Director?
Although the number of meetings will vary depending on the nature of your project, you and your thesis director should work out a mutually satisfactory schedule of appointments at which you can discuss your work in progress. Quite often, directing an honors thesis is not part of your professor's regular teaching assignment, but is extra work which he or she undertakes, so be considerate by following your agreed-upon schedule and consulting with your thesis director if you need to make changes. Out of courtesy, try to submit your completed thesis to your thesis director two to three weeks before finals week of the semester in which you expect to graduate.
Is It "Legal" To Rework an Old Paper or Project?
A thesis which builds on work already done can be a fine piece of work, developing work already done into a more complete form. However, you may not simply recycle, with minor additions or changes, a paper you have already completed. A student who merely proposes to add a different introduction, a longer conclusion, or a few more examples or illustrations to an already existing paper is not proposing anything that could be considered the culmination of an honors education.
What If I Do Not Finish My Honors Thesis in One Semester?
If a student does not complete her thesis during the semester in which she is enrolled in honors thesis, but is making satisfactory progress, her thesis director may submit a "Z" grade. The "Z" will be on the record until the thesis is completed during the next semester, when it will be replaced with the student's permanent grade.
THROUGHOUT THE THESIS PROCESS, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ASCERTAIN THAT ALL STEPS HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT. This includes notifying the Honors Director of your plans to graduate, making sure your thesis is delivered to the Honors Director, and meeting all honors requirements.
If you have additional questions, consult the Honors Director.
1. Get started early.
2. Think about your topic and your thesis director.
3. Remember to prepare for a public presentation.
4. Read and reread requirements, pages 1-2.
5. Make sure the director of your thesis has the information discussed on pages 5-6.
6. Register for 498 on the Research Course Information Form.
7. Ask for help.
8. Date due to the Honors Director: last day of senior exams.