Guidelines for Preparing an Honors Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Application
The Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Application is a requirement of those writing a thesis and is due late in the first semester in which a student registers for thesis credits. This proposal is the only thesis-related written work submitted to the University Honors Program (UHP) during the thesis process prior to the thesis itself. This is a student’s opportunity to formalize the concept for the thesis and make an initial attempt at explaining the preliminary work and goals to others. Please read the following guidelines closely, and submit any questions to the Associate Director of Research of the UHP.
Applying for a Thesis Fellowship
The other purpose behind completing the Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Application is that funds are available from the UHP to support student research. In fact, this is your only opportunity to request funding in support of your thesis work. Budget requests may be for any amount including no request for funding, but awards range from $50 to a maximum of $1,500 (except in the case of the Palermo Founders Fund—please see below). Please note that the decision regarding funding is made as part of a competitive process. The recommendations will be made by a committee evaluating all fellowship applications at one time and evaluate each request based upon the merits and needs of the individual student’s research proposal.
Typically, a thesis fellowship is used to offset expenses such as the following:
- Laboratory (or other research-related) equipment and supplies
- Art supplies and equipment
- The purchase or lease of computer software
- Books or periodicals not available through normal library sources
- Costs for preparing, copying, and mailing surveys
- Travel expenses directly related to the thesis project
Local and Out-of-Area Summer Housing Costs
On-campus residential hall housing costs for students doing thesis research locally during the summer (full third term) should be budgeted separately in thesis research budget requests. This effectively means submitting a budget for up to $1,500 in allowable costs plus the standard Residential Services housing costs for full third-term housing in one of the residence halls.*
*Revised policy regarding housing costs and budget request for thesis funding effective for proposals submitted Spring 2012 and thereafter.
NOTE: Honors Program funding for summer housing on campus is available only to students engaged exclusively in thesis research for the full third term. It covers only University housing in one of the residence halls. Students working a job not related to their thesis project, taking summer courses or pursuing an education abroad experience during part of the summer, are excluded from UHP housing unless their thesis proposal demonstrates that these activities are an integral part of their thesis project.
Fellowship funds are not awarded for expenses such as the following
- Equipment, supplies, software or printed materials available through the University
- Gift cards and entry fees for study participants
- Travel to conferences (a student whose thesis work is accepted to be presented at a conference which occurs before the student completes his or her undergraduate degree is encouraged to request cost-sharing from the UHP)
- Personnel costs, including payments to research subjects, research assistants or transcribers
- Research and/or laboratory costs for research conducted off-campus (at another university, government lab or industry) under the supervision of an advisor who is not a full time faculty member at UD
- Wages or stipends
Please note that all equipment, supplies, texts, etc., become the property of the Advisor’s Academic Department or Program at the conclusion of the thesis process.
Letter of Support
A letter of support from your Advisor or Advisor of Contact must be included.
In addition to discussing the shared background of the advisor and student, and the student's academic prowess, the letter should also address appropriateness of the budget request, and the tangible support the advisor can provide including space, supplies, equipment, and access to contacts necessary for the completion of the research.
A letter of support for the thesis proposal is similar to a letter of recommendation, including a discussion of the research project and the advisor's commitment to seeing the student succeed.
The Advisor should submit the letter of support directly to Ramona Speranza via email.
The Palermo Founders Fund
The Palermo Founders Fund was established to honor Dr. Patrick Palermo, the original director of the University Honors Program, and the students with whom he founded the program. This endowed fund provides support for a limited number of University Honors students who undertake Honors thesis projects of exceptional merit. Projects receiving funding must involve one or more of the following:
- International research
- Service and leadership in community
- Work that advances the realization of a just society
These projects are expected to nurture connected learning and scholarship in the distinctive Catholic and Marianist spirit by emphasizing the value of collaborative research, the pursuit of social justice, and leadership and service in the community. In fact, these distinctive thesis projects are often not limited to scholarly research, but commonly incorporate research and service as well.
Students are encouraged to apply for the Palermo Founders Fund based on the merit of the proposal and independent of the amount of the thesis funds being requested in Section VII (see below). The maximum amount of funding that may be received by a student whose Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Application is selected for the Palermo Founders Fund is generally $3000.
The student can expect a proposal evaluator to consider this list of questions.
Format for the Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Application
- The student should download the Cover Sheet (.docx) to be completed and signed by all parties before being scanned and submitted electronically to the UHP.
- The student should download the Thesis Proposal Template (.docx):
- This template includes the requirement information.
- This template includes the proper double-spaced formatting.
- Please submit the completed Word document by email to Ramona Speranza.
- Please include your last name as part of all electronic document file names.
The letter of support should be emailed to Ramona Speranza directly from the student's advisor.
All Honors Thesis Proposal and Fellowship Request materials are due April 1 to Ramona Speranza:
- Cover Sheet, completed and signed by all parties before being scanned and submitted electronically by email
- Thesis Proposal and Fellowship Request Word document submitted electronically by email
- Letter of Support submitted directly from the student's advisor electronically via email