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You are here: Home Enrichment Opportunities Senior Honors Theses Guidelines for Thesis Supervisors

Guidelines for Thesis Supervisors

Students arrive at the decision to complete a senior honors thesis by no predictable route. Some have been involved in the University Honors Program and have taken departmental honors seminars prior to the senior year; some are transfer students with little research experience at this institution; some have never worked independently on a significant intellectual project. Given the diversity of their experience and their motivation, students generally need more assistance than you might assume from viewing their academic records.

Although the thesis is largely an independent exercise, students will need guidance with the following:

  • Discerning a thesis within a manageable topic.
  • Identifying appropriate research tools and methods; contacting other faculty members with related areas of expertise.
  • Learning technical research procedures.
  • Evaluating the relevance of published sources and preparing a focused, current bibliography.
  • Devising a schedule for completion of certain stages of the thesis. This should include meetings with you on a regular basis.
  • Organizing and editing the final paper in accordance with the documentation style relevant to your field.

Once a paper is completed to your satisfaction, your role is to:

  1. Approve the distribution of the paper to the two other readers on the examining committee; compel student to get copies of the paper to readers at least one week before the exam.
  2. Make sure the student has arranged for the oral examination by the committee of readers and has notified the Honors director of the examination date and time (the conference room in the Overseers Honors House is often available as an examination site).
  3. The student is responsible for completing and returning to the Etscorn Honors Center the official notification of the examining committee's decision on the thesis (without this information the student will not be cleared for honors graduation).
  4. In case of a "provisional pass," review the student's revised thesis to insure that it meets the requirements of the examining committee before allowing the student to submit the final copy of the thesis to the Etscorn Honors Center. NOTE: Students' names will not be submitted to the Dean’s Office as magna or summa cum laude candidates until the final, approved version of the thesis is received in the Etscorn Honors Center.
  5. Remind your student to submit to the Honors office two clean, corrected copies of the written thesis for deposit in the University and Honors Archives, as well as a copy of his/her thesis on floppy disk, zip disk or CD.

Melissa Stordeur helps students coordinate senior honors theses. If you have additional questions, stop by the Etscorn Honors Center, telephone the office at (502) 852-6293 or e-mail us at honors (at)


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