The Road to an Honors Thesis
Check items as completed; fill in information as needed. (This is intended as a guide, NOT as a "script." )
1. Attend a Thesis Workshop (required for Sophomores; held each semester).
2. Take a look at past theses available in Franklin House and on the Honors College D2L (Content - Thesis).
3. Choose an area of interest.
4. Make a "contract" with an advisor. Be sure your advisor will be available when you plan to complete your project.
5. Develop/choose a preliminary question/creative task/analytic problem. Ask your advisor if there is any research going on in your department or in his/her lab that you can build upon.
6. Ask yourself: do I have the skills/background knowledge needed to complete this project? Consult with your advisor about courses/experiences to acquire necessary skills/knowledge.
7. Determine whether you will need financial support to complete the project you are interested in. Investigate grants possibilities (e.g. Neimeyer-Hodgson Grants, Undergraduate Research Committee Grants). https://www.millersville.edu/spra/student-research-at-mu/mu-student-research-grants.php
8. Register for 489 credits (Independent Study - Honors Thesis). The form is available on the Honors College D2L (Content - Thesis) or your academic department. You cannot register for the thesis online. It is a special registration process that must include a signature of your thesis advisor, academic advisor, and your department chairperson.
9. Submit a Thesis Prospectus form (available on the Honors College D2L - Content - Thesis) to Franklin House. Your thesis advisor must sign this form.
10. "Read" all about it!! Conduct a literature search on your topic. Review professional journals. Make sure to keep a listing of sources "checked out". You are not alone; be sure to consult your Librarian. Library staff can help you all along the process of working on your thesis. https://library.millersville.edu/directory/subject-librarians
11. Reframe/revise your question/task/problem as needed based on preliminary investigation.
12. Select a thesis committee of three faculty members. One of the three members will be your thesis advisor. One committee member could be outside of your department, but does not need to be. Work closely with your thesis advisor to identify your two other committee members. Feel free to consult the Honors College Director.
13. Develop a written thesis proposal. This should include:
o Introduction/statement of interest
o Statement of the problem/task/question, etc.
o Background/context/review of literature (An annotated bibliography may be substituted here based on the preference of the thesis advisor.)
14. Receive approval from your committee members to proceed with your project. (The formality of this step will vary depending on your thesis advisor's requirements for your thesis).
15. Begin in earnest with your inquiry/data gathering/creative activity.
16. Register for 499 credit, University Honors Thesis. See step #8. Altogether, you need a minimum of 3 thesis credits (489 and 499 combined). The most common combination is 1 credit of 489 and 2 credits of 499.
17. Write a draft of your paper which includes your intro, methods, results and discussion. Share with your thesis advisor, and when your thesis advisor thinks your draft is ready, share with your committee members. Revise your work, submit the next draft....repeat as needed. Writing a thesis is a process and requires drafts that should be reviewed by your advisor (and possibly your committee members). For assistance with formatting and citing sources, consult your librarian. For assistance with copyright concerns (e.g., charts, diagrams, etc.), contact Krista Higham, copyright Librarian.
18. Set defense date, time, and location. Schedule the defense with your committee members a month in advance. Inform the Honors College Office of your defense date and location.
19. Incorporate committee feedback into a defensible version of your thesis.
20. Provide committee members with a "clean copy" (appropriately formatted, proofread, fully referenced, etc.) at least ten (10) days prior to your defense date.
21. Defend your thesis.
22. Revise/improve as required by your committee.
23. Obtain committee signatures following successful revision. Create a signature page with the names of your committee members so you can get signatures. The signature page will be the second page of your thesis.
24. Deliver two clean, unbound, single-sided copies (including Cover Page, Signature Sheet, Abstract, Acknowledgements) to Franklin House. One copy is bound and kept on file in Franklin House. The other copy is sent to Universiry Archives. Also, email a PDF of the final, approved thesis with the signature page to the Honors College (CC your thesis advisor on this email).
25. Receive appropriate cord(s) (Purple = University Honors, Green = Departmental Honors) when you pick up your graduation regalia.