Students in their first semester of Honors Thesis research should begin by writing their research prospectus, and having it approved by their thesis director and all members of the faculty committee.
The Prospectus Deadline for Spring 2018 is February 23rd by 4:30pm.
The research prospectus serves as a research proposal, giving the committee background information about the project and similar research, outlining the methods, and discussing the expectations for the projects' outcome. Specific requirements for a prospectus are discipline-specific, and students should contact their thesis director to discuss expectations about format, length, and content.
The purpose of the prospectus is to define the scope of your research thesis or creative project, and to clarify the steps you will take in researching and writing or implementing your work. A strong prospectus typically includes some, if not all, of the following elements:
- A description of your project's nature and purpose, the issue(s) you will address, and their significance in your field.
- A critical review of related work in your field, to provide background information and demonstrate the need for your project.
- Your proposed research methods, along with an explanation of why your approach is appropriate for your research or creative activity.
- Preliminary bibliography.
Students must turn in a hard copy of their prospectus with a signed copy of the Prospectus Approval Form by the Friday of the 7th week of classes.
The Faculty Committee
The Faculty Committee for an honors thesis is chaired by the thesis director, and should be comprised of a minimum of three, maximum of four full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty.
The structure of the committee is as follows:
- One thesis director from the student's major
- One additional faculty member from the department that houses the student's major (some departments house more than one major)
- One "outside" faculty member from any department other than that which houses the student's major
- An optional fourth faculty member from any department.
Members of the faculty committee must read and approve the student's prospectus as well as the final thesis paper, and are required to be present for the formal defense. When selecting a faculty committee, it is important to go over a proposed timeline, and give the committee member an opportunity to discuss any conflicts with their schedule. Modern technology enables us to include faculty members from a distance, but this is generally the exception, not the rule. Ideally the full committee will be present on campus for the duration of the project.
At this stage, students may also need to consider what will be required for them to successfully complete their research. This may include, but not be limited to: