Steps to Complete Your Honors Thesis

Completing your thesis is an exciting and enriching process. Make sure to take the time you need to plan, execute, discuss, and submit your thesis. Keep the procedures and deadlines below in mind as you take on your thesis journey. If you are planning to complete your thesis in the current semester, you may find the Honors College thesis and graduation calendar helpful in organizing your path. 

Develop a thesis plan

Seize opportunities to get to know your professors. Reach out to faculty whose work interests you. Discuss their work and how it could connect to potential thesis topics and ask how you might join their scholarship team. Work with your Honors academic mentor to develop a thesis completion plan well in advance of your graduation date. They can help you plan ahead to make sure you have time for a full research/creative experience while also taking courses that interest you and fitting in other opportunities, such as study aboard and internships. Of course, plans can change, so be sure to review and revise your thesis completion plan with your Honors College academic mentor each semester. 

Return to list

Select a director and second reader

Your thesis director must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member from App State. Your Honors academic mentor can help you identify and connect with potential thesis directors that fit with your interests and your personality. However, finding a director is your responsibility and the process of searching for your director should start well before it is time to begin your thesis. You will work with your director to identify, plan, and execute your thesis project and your director will assign your final grade for your thesis course. Students typically meet weekly with their thesis directors throughout the thesis process. 

You must also identify a second reader from outside your director’s home department. Your second reader will foster interdisciplinary thinking and provide insights from another perspective. They could be a tenured-track or non-tenure-track faculty member or someone from the community who is not employed at App State. If you would like to petition to consider a second reader from a different program within the same department as your thesis director, email the Honors College Dean with your request and include an explanation as to how your preferred second reader’s expertise can help you broaden the perspectives of your work. 

Share your work regularly with your second reader for feedback. Do not wait until a final draft is ready. You want to incorporate their feedback throughout the process. 

Together, your director and second reader will form your thesis committee. Students who are also completing Departmental Honors should contact their respective departments/college for any additional requirements regarding the thesis committee. 

Return to list

Confirm preliminary requirements

Before registering for thesis hours, meet with your Honors academic mentor to make sure you are on track to complete the requirements for graduating with University Honors. 

Return to list

Apply for thesis approval and enroll in thesis credit hours

All students seeking to take credit-hours towards their Honors College thesis must complete the  Honors College Thesis Application by the end of the first week of classes for the semester in which they will receive their first thesis credit hour(s). The application asks you to 

  • attach a 1 to 2-page thesis prospectus (a.k.a. plan) and 

  • provide several names and email addresses for approval routing, including your thesis director’s name and your second reader’s name. Be particularly careful to enter the email address correctly. Approval requests will be sent to the addresses you enter and if they are incorrectly keyed your application cannot be approved.  

You’ll receive a message of final approval when all signatories have approved your application. However, approval of your Honors thesis application does not equal registration for your Honors thesis hours. You’ll need to register for these hours through a special course form

  • If you are completing BOTH University AND Departmental/College Honors, you will need to complete the form for your respective Departmental/College thesis course (DEPT 451X) and work with your Departmental/College Honors Director to submit this form through your home department. 

  • If you are completing ONLY University Honors you should complete the form for HON 4010 and attach the completed form in the appropriate space on your Honors College Thesis Application.

Return to list

Complete your thesis: components and formatting guidelines

Your thesis must include:

  • a title page using the formatting in the linked sample title page.

  • an abstract.

  • double-spaced text, unless specific formatting requires otherwise. 1.25-inch left margins, and 1-inch right, top, and bottom margins.

  • a minimum of 10 pages of written content. Creative thesis projects, such as performances, design projects, or exhibitions, can use this written component to provide context for their work, explain the project’s goals, and reflect on the accomplishments of the project. Projects not related to such creative endeavors will likely contain significantly more written work. 

  • properly formatted citations using a citation style that is appropriate for your discipline. Most importantly, once you choose a reference style, you should be consistent in your application. 

Return to list

Defend your thesis

After writing your thesis, you will present your findings in your thesis defense. Work with your thesis director to determine exactly when you’re ready for your defense, and when you are ready, complete the following steps: 

  • reserve a room for the thesis defense. Make sure that the room is big enough to hold guests from outside your thesis committee and that it has the technology that you need to give your presentation. You can use App State’s room reservation system to reserve spaces in Appalachian Hall. 

  • let the Honors College know about your defense by sharing the details through our Thesis Defense Google Form. This needs to be done at least 3 days in advance of the defense date. Soon after you submit this form you, your thesis committee, and the honors staff will receive calendar invitations to your defense. Someone form the Honors College will do their best to attend your defense, but it’s not required that we be there. 

  • share a copy of your thesis with your committee prior to the defense. Aim to get this copy to them at least one week prior to the date of the defense. 

  • create and deliver a presentation outlining your thesis work. This is your “defense,” although, we like to think of it more as a celebration of your work. The length of the presentation depends on your discipline; your director will let you know their expectations. Typically, presentations are between 20 and 30 minutes, but some are shorter and some are longer. 

  • answer questions from your committee and other guests following the presentation. You may then spend some time talking with just your committee. Following that conversation, you’ll be excused while your committee decides what edits or updates need to be made and the timeline for those updates. Finally, you’ll be invited back to discuss next steps.  

  • complete any edits that the thesis committee shares with you as a result of the thesis defense process. 

Return to list

Submit your completed thesis

Collect the following: 

Then follow the process describe on our thesis submission page to finalize your thesis submission. 

Return to list

Receive a grade of B or higher for your thesis 

Your thesis director is responsible for assigning your thesis grade, and this does not need to occur until grades are due at the end of the semester. If you do not have time between the defense and the end of the semester to implement all necessary changes, you could discuss the possibility of receiving an incomplete grade with your director, although this may delay your graduation. You must receive a B or higher on your thesis to meet the Honors College thesis requirement. 

Return to list