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Undergraduate students with a 3.7 cumulative gpa prior to their last two semesters of study to complete their degree are eligible to request to propose a Senior Honors Thesis.


The Honors Thesis proposal should be a full statement of the topic, the scope of the study, the methodology, and the materials to be used in the research. Proposals should be approximately 4-5 pages long, including the reading list. The proposal is a demonstration of a commitment to an extensive study, so it should be developed in close consultation with a supporting ILR faculty member. An initial proposal should be prepared by the end of the spring term, and further refined in reading and research in the summer months. The Academic Standards and Integrity Committee expects that proposals will be submitted for review starting at the end of the spring term and over the early summer months, but no later than one week prior to the first week of fall semester classes. The final deadline for submission of proposals is August 15. No exceptions or extensions will be granted beyond that time frame.

Schedules and Expectations

While the proposal is being developed, the ILR Faculty Supervisor and the candidate should agree upon a schedule of meetings, target dates for the submission of interim reports or preparatory papers or chapters of the study, and the expected date of submission of the near-final copy of the thesis to be defended. This continues the progress of the study and prevents misunderstandings about the scope and direction of the study. Revisions may be completed well before the thesis defense if a near-final copy is available to the supervisor and the Second Reader in March. The student must defend before the last day of classes in the spring term.


The Academic Standards and Integrity Committee recommends that the ILR Faculty Supervisor inform the candidate of the criteria to be used in evaluating interim papers or chapters and the completed thesis. The Committee believes that an Honors Thesis should demonstrate the student's capacity for quality research and should give evidence of mastery of the material. More important than any general standard is the mutually accepted understanding of the criteria to be used by the ILR faculty supervisor in evaluating all of the work of the candidate.

The Second Reader and the Thesis Defense

The thesis should be examined and defended before the ILR Faculty Supervisor and the Second Reader before the end of scheduled classes in the spring term. The Committee recommends that the Second Reader be involved early in the study, preferably early enough to be named as a reader when the proposal is submitted for review and surely no later than the March submission of the near-final draft. The ILR Faculty Supervisor and the candidate should discuss the defense in advance, particularly clarifying the role of the supervisor as advocate or as critic of the paper, the role of the Second Reader, and expectations of the scope of the defense.

Grades and Honors

Candidates for Honors should be aware that the Faculty Supervisor must make two judgments about the completed thesis research: what grade is appropriate, and does it merit Graduation with Honors? While those evaluations tend to be symmetrical, it is possible that thesis research earning a superior grade does not, in the assessment of the faculty supervisor, warrant Graduation with Honors.

Expenses and Funds

The Director of the Office of Student Services reviews requests for funding assistance and decides upon eligibility and equitable allocations based on estimates before the expenses are incurred.

Signatures and Approvals

The Honors Thesis Research proposal submitted to the Academic Standards and Integrity Committee is required to be accompanied by the following:


This contains the signatures of the applicant, the supervising ILR faculty member, and the Chairperson of the ILR faculty member's department. Those signatures attest to the signatories' common understanding of the scope of the study, the commitments of time necessary to complete and to supervise the research, and the faculty member's judgment that the applicant has the ability to complete the proposed study in a satisfactory manner.

Grades and Eligibility

Candidates for Graduation with Honors are required to maintain a minimum cumulative gpa of 3.7 during both of the semesters in which they are conducting research and writing the thesis. If a candidate drops below a cumulative gpa of 3.7, eligibility for Graduation with Honors ends. The supervising ILR faculty member must then determine if the research done to that point is sufficient to qualify for Independent Study credit (ILR 4990).