Completion of your Honors Thesis/Capstone requires a detailed process.
You will build up to your thesis/capstone throughout your years at the university by completing coursework, participating in research, engaging with faculty, and narrowing down your areas of academic and professional interest. By the end of your junior year, you should have a well-developed plan that you can implement in your senior year.
Use the following timeline as a guide for preparing for your thesis/capstone:
1. Explore Your Topic
Early in the junior year, you will begin narrowing down your focus. This may be done in several ways, including engaging in discussions with faculty and enrolling in a junior honors seminar in your department.
2. Identify a Faculty Advisor
In the second semester of your junior year, you will designate a faculty advisor. This is the person who will supervise your thesis/capstone and award your final grade.
3. Submit the Prospectus
By the end of the junior year, you are required to submit an honors thesis/capstone prospectus. This process allows you provide a description of your proposed project, and also provides confirmation that a faculty member has agreed to advise your thesis/capstone. You will submit your prospectus to the W. A. Franke Honors College by the last day of classes in the semester prior to starting your thesis/capstone.
4. Register for Credit
The thesis/capstone is a two-semester commitment that demands a minimum of six units of work — three units of Departmental 498H credit per semester usually taken in the senior year. (Please note: some colleges such as Engineering and Architecture use different course numbers.) Under no circumstances will students be permitted to complete all six thesis/capstone units in a single semester. You will work with your department to enroll in thesis/capstone credit. Each department manages the registration process differently, but most will require written confirmation from your faculty advisor.
5. Engage in Your Project
Working under the guidance of your faculty advisor, you will engage in a personalized research experience. Although the details of the project will vary from student to student, most will spend the first semester writing a draft of the statement of purpose, the statement of methodology/capstone design, and the literature review.
Students generally spend the second semester revising the research plan; completing data analysis or production; analyzing, synthesizing and drawing conclusions; and revising the written version of thesis/capstone. Your faculty advisor will award a grade for your first semester of thesis/capstone work, based on the progress you have made up to that point. Remember to register for your next three units of thesis/capstone credit for your second semester.
Students who are using human subjects in their research may be required to apply for approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to beginning their work. IRB approval can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, so students must build this process into their research timelines. Your thesis/capstone advisor should guide you through the IRB review process.
6. Submit Your Thesis/Capstone
Prior to the end of the semester, you will submit your final work to your faculty advisor in order to receive feedback and a final grade. Once your thesis/capstone has been approved, you will submit your signed thesis/capstone title page and an electronic copy of your thesis/capstone document to the W. A. Franke Honors College. The thesis/capstone must be submitted to the Franke Honors College by the last day of classes, so you are encouraged to plan ahead and allow yourself enough time to make any needed revisions.