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College of Arts & Sciences

Required Standards for A&S Thesis

More information about departmental honors in the College of Arts & Sciences

In keeping with the articulated mission of the College of Arts & Sciences, the qualitative standards for an Arts & Science thesis are high. Your thesis will undergo at least three separate reviews for quality (thesis adviser, departmental honors coordinator, Dean of Arts & Sciences). As you work on your thesis keep the following points in mind:

  • The thesis must be your own original work. Plagiarism is a complicated subject—Do not simply assume that you understand it. You will be asked to certify on your Thesis Prospectus Cover Sheet that you have read and understood the materials on plagiarism included in these guidelines.
  • The thesis must be created in accordance with the specific academic expectations appropriate to your particular discipline. Consult your thesis adviser and, if required, the departmental honors coordinator, to make sure you understand what those expectations are before you begin writing your thesis.
  • A thesis must be the product of sustained research. Research is to be understood as a deliberate, thoughtful process of investigation during the course of which you attempt to shed light on a subject in a way that can be transmitted to a wider audience.
  • The thesis should demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of matters covered in it. You must offer an interpretation in your thesis. That interpretation does not have to be original, but it cannot be simplistically derivative. It must demonstrate insight and creativity.
  • All theses must include a scholarly, substantive written component. Some programs of study may involve a piece of creative writing, a film, etc., but all "creative" theses need to include a scholarly, substantive essay that situates your project in the intellectual heritage of your discipline. The purpose of this requirement is to document the context which influenced the development of your work.

The written component of your thesis must include:

  • Correct grammar and spelling
  • Correct use of technical terms
  • Correct citation
  • Properly constructed figures and tables
  • A bibliography of works in all media which were used in the construction of the thesis.

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College of Arts & Sciences