Undergraduate Programs

Senior Thesis Honors Program

Senior Thesis Honors Info:
- Overview of the Senior Honors Thesis
  including guidelines and deadlines
- Resources and support

The Thesis Honors Program involves independent study that leads to a senior thesis and a qualifying oral examination. The program aims to develop individual initiative and habits of critical analysis. These are qualities that impress potential employers, and the thesis itself is evidence that its author can develop and complete a project of substantial magnitude. Completing such an in-depth study is a personally rewarding and educationally valuable capstone to the major, offering students the opportunity to explore an issue in depth and assess their interest in an academic career.

Members of the department are available to meet with students to explore their ideas for honors theses, help them navigate the application process, and direct them to sources of research support.

The Thesis Honors Program is normally restricted to students who have been on the Dean's List at least two times prior to their senior year. Application is usually made by the end of the junior year, but must be made no later than the end of the second week of the senior year. Students who plan to study abroad for all or part of their junior year should begin to think about the program before leaving campus, but they can apply for admission and do the necessary planning from abroad.

The student is responsible for identifying a thesis advisor in the Department of Sociology and forming an advisory committee. Three members are recommended, but the committee can have two members. The chair of the committee will be a member of the Department of Sociology, and one member can be from outside the department. Admission to the program requires consent of the student's advisor and approval of the chair of the department. The membership of the committee and the title of the thesis must be registered with the Academic Resource Center. The committee will direct the student's reading and research and guide the student in preparing for the qualifying examination. Students will register for two consecutive one-credit thesis courses (Sociology 199); a grade for both is recorded after the thesis is approved.

The thesis can be a critical review of the sociological literature on a given topic, a re-analysis of data collected by others, or an original piece of research. The thesis should develop a theoretical argument and situate the subject in contemporary sociology. The subject and scope of the thesis will be agreed upon in advance by the student and the chair of the committee and will be approved by the whole committee. Most theses are 75 to 100 pages in length. Theses have been written on the following topics: the birth and evolution of the profession of occupational therapy; the interpretation and experience of motherhood by HIV-positive women; cardiovascular disease among African Americans; the environmental movement in Japan; and the social language of clothing among millennial women. Students interested in looking at past theses should contact the staff assistant in Eaton Hall 102B.

The student will meet regularly with the thesis advisor during the fall semester of the senior year. The whole committee will meet with the student at least once during the fall semester to discuss the student's progress.

Review the timeline for completion of the thesis from its inception in the junior year through the spring semester of the senior year.

Immediately after the oral defense, the committee determines the level of thesis honors: Bachelor of Arts with highest thesis honors, with high thesis honors, or with thesis honors. The level of thesis honors will be indicated on the student's transcript, but not on the diploma. Students who, in the judgment of the committee, have not attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation, but whose work is worthy of a degree, are recommended for the Bachelor of Arts degree subject to the general regulations. Students who, in the judgment of the committee, have attained the standards required for a thesis honors designation can also receive their degrees summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude.

Students should submit a hard copy and an electronic copy of their completed Senior Honors Thesis to the Department of Sociology as well as an electronic copy to Digital Collections & Archives.

Register at SIS Online.