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The Honors Senior Thesis is required of all Honors Program Thesis Track candidates. It represents the result of a substantial research project chosen by the student, and is designed to provide a challenging, rewarding educational experience for the student. As a general rule, the thesis should be significantly more substantive than an in-course paper, but something less than a Master's thesis.
The Senior Thesis should be the result of an ongoing relationship between student, Tutor, and Reader. The thesis project itself should entail a number of discrete tasks, many of which are detailed in our Thesis Requirements.
The Senior Thesis should be original in its conception and analysis. Originality, however, need not mean the discovery of new knowledge, but can be reflected in the questions posed, the synthesis formed, or the organization and presentation of data. Theses should be the result of serious research, original thinking, and a clear understanding of the issues surrounding a topic. Since in-depth, comprehensive studies are usually preferable to broad surveys, topics should be feasible in terms of the students’ competencies and the time available.
Students should possess some background knowledge and any essential methodological skills prior to embarking on the thesis. The final paper should place the specific topic in a broader scholarly context by exhibiting familiarity with other literature on the subject. Students involved in projects involving empirical research should develop a testable hypothesis, design and conduct a study to test it, and analyze the results in an appropriate manner.
Length should be determined by what is appropriate for the particular subject. In the past, theses using Social Science methodology have ranged from 20 to 60 pages; those in the Humanities from 60 to 80 pages; and theses in the Natural/Mathematical Sciences typically have been 10 to 30 pages.