Steps

Plan Your Honors College Thesis

Students should begin exploring issues and subjects to research for their thesis long before graduation.  Careful advanced planning is necessary so that internships, other coursework, or study abroad opportunities do not conflict with the student’s ability to timely complete the thesis.  Students should also seize opportunities to get to know their professors and discuss potential thesis topics, or even work with faculty in their own research areas.  This will help students gain insight regarding what topic they select for their thesis, as well as who they select to be their director and second reader.

Attend a Thesis Information Session

At the beginning of each semester, the Honors College holds a number of information sessions for students to learn about the thesis process and ask any questions they may have.  Announcements regarding the times and location of the sessions will be sent to students via email and they will also be listed on the Honors College Calendar.  Students must attend at least one session. 

Confirm Preliminary Requirements

To enroll in HON 4010, Honors College Thesis, all University Honors students must meet all the requirements for graduating with University Honors, including a 3.45 cumulative GPA and a 3.45 honors GPA. No later than the semester prior to beginning their thesis, all students must schedule an appointment with their Honors advisor to ensure they meet the requirements.

Select Your Director and Second Reader

Students may select their own director (a/k/a: first reader, advisor, mentor), who will guide the student in the research and writing process and assign the final grade.  The director must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at Appalachian.  Rare exceptions to this requirement can be made only with the permission of the Honors College. 

In addition to a director, students must also select a second reader, who will help foster interdisciplinary thinking and provide insights from another perspective.  The second reader must be from a different department than the director, but does not have to be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member.  The second reader may also be someone from the community who is not employed at Appalachian.  The second reader should be given the courtesy to comment on the student’s drafts; ideally, he or she is given an outline of the student’s research very early, a mid-point draft or report, and then the final draft at least a week or two before the Honors College Thesis defense is scheduled.  Together, the director and second reader will form the student’s thesis committee. Students who are also completing the Honors College Thesis to satisfy departmental honors requirements must contact their respective departments/college for any additional requirements regarding the director and/or second reader.

Complete Thesis Enrollment and Application Form

All students seeking to enroll in the Honors College Thesis must complete the Honors College Thesis/Project Application form by the end of the first week of classes the semester in which they will receive the thesis credit.  It is important that students complete this form in its entirety.  Any omitted information will cause a delay in the approval of their thesis enrollment.

Students expecting to graduate with University Honors from the Honors College must indicate this by checking the appropriate box on the application form.  Upon approval of the application, the Honors College will complete a special course form and submit it to the Registrar’s office for enrollment in HON 4010.  Students will be notified via email whether their application was approved and should allow at least a week before their enrollment in HON 4010 will be reflected on their transcript.

Students expecting to graduate with BOTH University Honors from the Honors College AND departmental/college honors must indicate this by checking the appropriate box on the application form.  Students must contact their respective department/college to receive directions on how to enroll in the appropriate DEPT 451x course in order to receive credit for their thesis, as well as for completing any other additional requirements for their department/college.  The Honors College will notify these students via email whether their application has been approved for purposes of University Honors College requirements.

All students must submit the completed Honors College Thesis/Project Application form to the Honors College by the end of the first week of classes the semester in which they will receive the thesis credit.  A 1-2 page thesis/project description that contains the student’s thesis director’s signature must be attached to the application form or it will not be considered. 

This application form is not required for students expecting to graduate with departmental honors only.  Students should consult their respective department/college for instructions on how to enroll and complete their thesis requirements.

Prepare Your Thesis: Components and Formatting Requirements

  • Title Page.  All Honors College Theses, regardless of form, must include a title page arranged in the prescribed manner with all the pertinent information and required signatures.  Click here to see a sample title page.  Students must submit an original signed title page to the Honors College.  The Honors College Director will sign the title page after the student submits his or her final thesis.  Theses with incomplete or inaccurate title pages will not be accepted.
  • Abstract.  All Honors College Theses must include an abstract. 
  • Spacing and Margins.  All text should be double-spaced, unless specific formatting requires otherwise.  Left margins should be 1.25 inches; all other margins should be one inch. Charts, graphs, photographs, or other illustrations should also have proper margins.
  • Performances/Creative Work.  A minimum 10-page written component is required in the case of thesis products such as performances, design projects, or art exhibitions to adequately explain the goals and accomplishments of the project.

Defend Your Thesis

Students are responsible for scheduling their thesis defense on a date and time agreed upon by their thesis committee (director and second reader) prior to its final approval. Students must reserve a room that is large enough to accommodate additional attendees other than their committee, and one that has appropriate technology needed by the student to conduct the presentation. Students should also at least two weeks in advance provide a copy of the thesis to the committee for review. The defense should be scheduled at least one to two weeks prior to the first day of exams to allow time for any recommended changes or additions requested by the committee upon completion of the defense. The defense itself typically consists of a 20-30 minute presentation, but longer defenses are not unusual, particularly in the case of performances. Once the defense date is confirmed, students must email honors@appstate.edu with the time, date, building, and room number so that it can be placed on the Honors calendar.

Defenses of performances, art exhibitions, design projects, or other creative projects should include a short introduction explaining the project to the audience. As noted above, these theses also require a minimum 10-page written component to explain the goals and accomplishments of the project.

Following the presentation, the committee may invite the public to ask questions, or they may ask the public to wait until the committee has completed their examination. 

Once the questioning and defense of the thesis has ended, the student and the public are excused so that the committee may deliberate on the outcome of the defense. The committee determines if the student has "passed" or "failed" the defense. The student is invited back and informed of the outcome. Assuming a "pass," the student will then be instructed as to any remaining work, corrections, changes that the committee require before they accept the thesis in its final form.

The thesis director alone is responsible for assigning a grade for the thesis, and this does not need to occur until grades are due at the end of the semester, thus allowing time for any changes the student must implement. If there are substantial changes required before a passing grade can be assigned, it is possible to assign an incomplete, though this will delay graduation.

Submit Your Final Thesis

The Honors College and University Library are no longer collecting hard copies of theses. Theses will be included in the NC Docks Digital Archive. Click here for instructions on how to submit your thesis.