The Honors Thesis
The Honors thesis is a requirement for Presidential Honors Scholars, and an option
for Deans Honors Scholars. It can overlap with a requirement for your major,
or can be a project pursued separately from your major requirements. An
Honors undergraduate thesis requires greater depth than a typical course-related
research paper, reveals the student's in-depth background in the subject, and manifests
the student‘s commitment to rigorous research, intensive scholarly effort, and
an excellent final product.
A strong Honors thesis should:
- Involve significant independent work on a major project
- Involve the production of new knowledge
- Involve thorough scholarly documentation and/or public presentation
- Represent a significant, substantial culmination of the student’s undergraduate work.
Students register their Honors thesis/senior project with the Honors Office by completing this online thesis/senior project application.
There are a number of ways that students can complete their senior project, and there
are options both in and beyond the curriculum in their own major.
Pre-approved Departmental Capstone options:
Some departments have identified alternative capstones and course options that meet the Honors standard for an exceptional final experience.
Check to see if your major capstone is listed as an eligible Honors thesis in the Capstone Course List.
In the case of approved courses in which group projects are central to the work of the course, Honors students are expected to take a defined leadership role in the course, and in conjunction with their faculty member. They should be prepared to explain this in the Thesis application. These options should meet the four bulleted criteria listed above.
Thesis-based capstone (496):
Any thesis-based capstone housed under the 496-course number in their major is an eligible Honors thesis option. Students may also consult with the Honors College to register for an HONR 496 for independent study thesis not offered in conjunction with their departmental curriculum.
Undergraduate Research (497/498):
3-6 hours of undergraduate research under the 497 or 498 course number in their major. Students should also apply to have these credits applied to their Honors curriculum by first completing the online research form.
A full semester (or more) of study abroad for which the additional honors work has been completed for Honors credit. Guidelines can be found here. Students should secure approval before they depart by completing the Honors study abroad application.
At least three credits of internship approved by the Honors college, and that meets the defined criteria for Honors credit. Students should secure approval before they depart by completing the Honors study abroad application.
Community-Based Research (SRVL 495):
Any project completed under the SRVL 495 course as an independent service learning/community-base research can also be applied. Students should complete the form for undergraduate research.
- Creative thinking and in-depth study skills – selecting a topic, identifying a question and writing a proposal;
- Research and problem-solving skills – learning methodology and perspective, organizing material, recording insights; and
- Organizing, writing, and communicating skills – writing a literature review, drafting and refining, dealing with peer review as well as faculty feedback.
Further, it builds competence, discipline, independence, and confidence. Students will learn about themselves, their field of study, and its relation to society. They will learn whether they have the initiative and commitment for independent research and scholarly effort.
Students may have opportunities to publish papers as undergraduates, become involved in long-term projects which might carry over into graduate or professional school, and develop better support systems with faculty mentors. Faculty may receive credit on faculty workload for guiding Honors Undergraduate theses.
These skills, attitudes, and accomplishments make students more competitive for professional and graduate school admissions.
Filing Your Honors ThesisStudents who complete an Honors senior project that has a substantive final document may post their thesis to the Honors Electronic Thesis repository. While we encourage students to file their theses in the University Libraries' collections via this route, filing the thesis is an optional step toward graduating with Presidential Honors.
Complete instructions for preparing a submission can be found here.
Please follow all formatting guidelines, including converting your document
to a PDF file before you post it. Note that the signature page described in
this document is not required; its function is covered by the
Honors College Thesis Approval form.
Check the WVU EDT Site or contact Debra Borelli in the University Libraries by email or by calling 304-293-0324 if you have any problems.
Alternative Departmental Capstone Options
Some departments have capstones that do not fit standard thesis/ senior project criteria, but nonetheless rise to the standard of the Honors thesis. The courses in the Capstone Course List have been pre-approved as Honors-eligible capstone options.
Some thesis options involve significant group projects. In the case of approved courses in which group projects are central to the work of the course, Honors students are expected to take a defined leadership role in the course, and in conjunction with their faculty member. They should be prepared to explain this in the thesis application.If there is an alternative capstone option in your major that you believe meets the criteria for an Honors thesis/ senior project, but does not appear on the list, please ask your advisor to contact the Honors College.