Defense Semester

Students complete their Honors Thesis by way of a formal defense in front of their faculty committee during their final term of thesis work. Following the defense, the thesis must be approved by all members of the faculty committee.

To learn all about the Defense Semester, read the Honors in the Major Handbook. The Handbook provides a thorough, more in-depth overview of the information provided below.

Important Deadlines:

  • The Defense Announcement Deadline for Summer 2020 is June 5, 2020, by 4:30 pm Eastern.
  • The Defense Certificate Form and thesis submission to the FSU Research Repository for Summer 2020 are due July 31, 2020, by 4:30 pm Eastern.

Psychology majors should submit their defense paperwork and other materials through the online portal here. 

Defense Announcement

Within the first four weeks of the defense semester, students must schedule the day, time, and location of their defense and get it approved by the full faculty committee. All committee members are expected to be present at the defense. Students with creative projects that require special space reservations, technical considerations, or coordination of performers may want to consider turning in the Defense Announcement early for logistical reasons.

Once the defense is scheduled, complete the Defense Announcement and either submit it via the online portal if you are a Psychology major, or if you are not a Psychology major, email a PDF to HITM@fsu.edu.

The Thesis

There are two options for an Honors in the Major Thesis project, the Research Thesis and the Creative Project. Both require some written paper and should have a title page and signature page in the traditional format for an honors thesis. You can download a template title and signature page here.


The Defense

Given the current recommendation to social distance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are suspending for this semester the requirement that the majority of the supervisory committee attend the oral defense in person. In other words, HITM students are now encouraged to conduct their oral defense in real time via distance technology. We recommend that students and thesis directors should prioritize the utilization of distance technology for defenses during this time given the circumstances and complications of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes using free technology services available to all FSU students, faculty, and staff such as Zoom. Neither students nor faculty should be required to attend an in-person defense, if they are uncomfortable doing so. If a student must reschedule their defense, or if a student chooses to defend via distance technology, they do not need to notify the Honors Program of these changes. Instead, we encourage students to proactively communicate and plan with their thesis director and committee, and to submit the signed Defense Announcement Form by the July 31 deadline. Since in-person thesis check-in meetings are not recommended, students and thesis directors should schedule phone or virtual meetings in the weeks leading up to the defense.

Virtual Defense Guidelines

Committees may deviate from these recommended guidelines where appropriate:

  • All committee members and the student must be able to participate in real time via audio and/or video throughout the entire defense. All efforts should be made to conduct the defense in real-time video, but committee members may use audio conferencing in exceptional circumstances.
  • The means of communication for the student and committee members must be agreed upon in advance. If needed, technology needs should be arranged with the facility in which the defense is being held as soon as possible. The student and all committee members must be notified of any changes to the set-up prior to the defense. On the day of defense, if the set-up differs significantly from the prior agreement, the student must be allowed to reschedule without penalty.
  • Any materials needed for the defense presentation should be transmitted to committee members prior to the defense.
  • Any technical support staff needed to operate equipment during the examination must observe strict confidentiality.
  • The defense conference period should be scheduled for longer than may be needed to allow for any delays resulting from technical issues during the defense.
  • Should a technical failure arise that cannot be resolved, the Thesis Director in consultation with the supervisory committee members will determine if the defense should continue. If the defense is cancelled, the defense will be rescheduled and there will be no penalty to the student.
  • Students should circulate their Defense Certificate Form among committee members via HelloSign.com, an e-signature platform that offers free trials. Alternately, the thesis director can use DocuSign to circulate the Defense Certificate Form on behalf of the student. Once signed and completed, the student should email a PDF of the completed form to HITM@fsu.edu by the July 31 deadline.
  • Students should submit the final draft of their honors thesis, complete with the template title and signature page, to the DigiNole archive by the July 31 deadline. Please note that the signature page should be completed with the committee members’ names, but signatures on this page are not a requirement.

The Paperwork

Upon successful completion of the thesis defense, students must submit the following forms as a single PDF file to HITM@fsu.edu:

  1. Defense Certificate: must be signed by all members of the faculty committee.
  2. Embargo Request Form: this optional form is used to request that the HITM thesis be hidden on the archive for up to twenty-four (24) months after submission. It is not recommended for general use but is available as an option if the display on DigiNole could negatively impact the student's future plans (mainly for creative projects and papers in line for publication). Students requesting a continuation of their soon-to-expire embargo should also use this form. This form should be signed by the student and the thesis director.

The Archive

All undergraduate theses published at FSU are housed in the DigiNole archive. Students must submit their final signed thesis to the archive as a .PDF file by the final day of classes in order to officially earn Honors in the Major.

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