Honors Thesis Project

Completion of an Honors thesis is a requirement for graduating with one of the following two diploma options:

  • Honors diploma (for students choosing the “thesis option”)
  • Honors with Distinction diploma 

What is an Honors Thesis?

The Honors Thesis project is an independent, substantial research and writing endeavor for which the student is awarded six credit hours. The thesis is initiated by the student and directed by an advisor who has agreed to work with the student.

The UHP facilitates the thesis process, noting its central role in the development of emerging scholars. However, the UHP will not define the specifics of a thesis. Thesis research and writing is expected to be discipline-specific and representative of scholarship in the student’s own field. The advisor's and the department’s own guidelines provide the basis by which a thesis is researched, written and evaluated.

What are the milestones of an Honors Thesis project?

The important process milestones for completing an Honors thesis are as follows (see the Timeline for specific dates):

Junior Year

  • Complete Initial Information Document
  • Attend both Junior Honors Workshops
  • Find an Honors Thesis Mentor
  • Complete Thesis Intent Document
  • Attend the Research Tools and Resources workshop
  • Complete and submit the Honors Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Request
  • Obtain ethics approval for projects that involve human subjects (IRB) or vertebrate animals (IACUC)
  • Begin research and preparation of project materials

Senior Year

  • Continue research and preparation of project materials
  • Work with your Honors Thesis Mentor
  • Attend senior Honors thesis workshop
  • Write manuscript and complete preparation of project materials
  • Present research at the Honors Students Symposium
  • Present research poster at the Stander Symposium
  • Complete thesis project and submit manuscript to the UHP for printing

Who is eligible to serve as the Honors thesis mentor on an Honors thesis?

An "Honors Thesis Mentor" for an Honors thesis is a full-time member of the University of Dayton faculty from the department in which the student is completing a thesis (typically his or her own department). The Honors Thesis Mentor performs the following roles:

  • Oversees the project from its inception
  • Decides what threshold the student must meet
  • Provides feedback until the project is completed
  • Provide interim progress reports to the UHP
  • Grades the completed project (noting that a grade of "B" or better on the six credit hours associated with the project is necessary to complete the Honor Program diploma option)

Exceptions:  There may be circumstances when a student has an Honors Thesis Mentor who is not a full-time UD faculty member. For example, an Honors Thesis Mentor could be a UD staff member; an expert from another college, university or research lab; or a mentor from a community or service organization. In these cases a student will also need an Advisor of Contact who serves to coordinate the administrative functions related to the thesis, and is responsible for submitting interim progress reports, IP grades and final grades. The department chair or program director for which the thesis credits are being pursued serves as the Advisor of Contact in such cases. The Advisor of Contact does not have an active role in the oversight of the project and does not set the expectations for content or completion. 

NOTE:  The UHP does not provide additional compensation for individuals who serve as an Honors Thesis Mentor or Advisor of Contact.

How is the student graded?

The thesis is a single, extended learning experience. Typically, no grades are awarded until the thesis is finished. A student will receive "IP" (In Progress) grades on all thesis credit hours until the thesis is completed. When the thesis is finished, the "IP" grades will be changed to appropriate letter grades. The grading of all six credit hours of thesis is the responsibility of the Adviser of Contact. Students should always review grading standards and criteria very carefully with their advisors during the early stages of the thesis.

If a student decides to discontinue the thesis project prior to its completion or, in rare cases in which the student is not making satisfactory progress towards the completion of the thesis, the student must formally withdraw from the thesis hours through the University Registrar. The drop form must be signed by the student, Honors Thesis Mentor or Advisor of Contact (instructor), academic advisor and the respective Dean, then submitted to the Registrar. A “W” grade will be assigned.

If the student fails to submit a written thesis but participated at the Honors Student Symposium and the Stander Symposium, a grade may be assigned for the first three-credit-hour thesis course at the discretion of the department chair or program director.