The Honors Thesis
All Honors students complete a senior thesis: a sustained, independent project in their field of study. Nearly all find that undertaking a senior thesis is the most rewarding (and often most challenging) experience of their college years. Students who complete a thesis enter the workforce or graduate school having designed and completed a piece of work that meets the standards of their discipline, which can serve as writing sample or as evidence of relevant experience. The finished product can take many forms: a research paper, an experiment, a piece of computer software, a collection of short stories, or a music recital, among others. You will consult with the faculty in your department about the shape and content of your thesis, and work closely with your faculty advisor as you complete the project.
The thesis must count for 4-8 credits of your Honors in Major requirement. Generally, students register for a Senior Honors Thesis course (often numbered 799) in the spring and/or fall of their Senior year. This course is an independent study conducted by the faculty advisor. This advisor sets the standards, due date, and grade for the project. It must earn at least a B in order to qualify for Honors. All students must publicly present their research prior to graduation. Many present at the Undergraduate Research Conference in April; other departmentally-approved public events are also acceptable.
In 2012 we began digitally archiving Honors theses. Students are encouraged to peruse scholars.unh.edu/honors/ for examples in relevant disciplines. Older Honors theses are available in the Special Collections & Archives department at Dimond Library.
Thesis advisors must be tenure-line faculty; that is, their title should be Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Lecturers, Instructors, and other contingent faculty may not be sole advisors for Honors theses, though they sometimes co-direct projects.
Students should select advisors with whom they have worked successfully in the past, and who have expertise in the student’s area of research interest. Many students connect with thesis advisors by working with them on course designations during Honors-in-Major coursework. Advisors should be approached before the semester in which research begins. Honors Liaisons can assist students who are having trouble identifying an advisor.
The Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research offers research grants, including summer support. During the academic year when you are registered for thesis credit, you may apply for an Honors Thesis Grant from the Hamel Center. These grants are for up to $150 and can be used to pay for research expenses.
Honors Students can access Extended Time borrowing privileges at Dimond Library, which are otherwise reserved for faculty and graduate students. In order to be granted these privileges, complete the Honors Thesis Agreement and submit it to the University Honors Program, along with a note requesting extended borrowing privileges.
Honors students are asked to make their thesis papers available on scholars.unh.edu/honors/. In addition to supporting future students and other researchers, posting theses on this site helps students professionalize their online personas.
To publish your research in Inquiry, UNH's undergraduate research journal, or to become a student editor of the journal, please visit: www.unh.edu/inquiryjournal.