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Explore Potential Topics and Research Areas

Ideas often come from lectures, discussion groups, conversations with faculty or friends, clubs and service groups. Sometimes a timely article, current event, or book can spark an idea or question that leads to a thesis topic. We encourage students to participate in a wide variety of activities and events sponsored by the Honors Program and the campus community more broadly. We also encourage students to get to know faculty in their major, explore research programs and opportunities, and talk to more advanced Honors students about their thesis experiences. As students continue to explore ideas through courses and other activities, they begin to narrow topics and subfields of particular interest to them.

By the sophomore year, we encourage students to seek opportunities as research assistants, teaching assistants, or lab assistants. Students can talk to faculty in their departments, meet with their Honors Coordinator, and actively seek ways to become involved in research or projects. Other students join clubs or service groups, honors societies in their majors, participate in Leadership Development experiences, internships, or study abroad programs that can lead to exciting thesis projects. Students should identify fields and several topics of interest, then work with their Honors coordinator and faculty advisor to identify a specific project.

Students should complete significant course work within the thesis field (usually at least 30 credit hours, several of which are from 300- or 400-level major courses).

Honors Policy Note: The thesis should acquaint students firsthand and in depth with the type of scholarly work that characterizes the field they intend to pursue professionally. For these reasons, only under rare circumstances is an Honors thesis topic outside the student’s major area approved. (In most cases, students who complete a thesis outside the major do so in a field cognate to their major or in a minor.)