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Honors Thesis General Information

Honors Thesis Project

Completion of an Honors thesis is a requirement for graduating with one of the following two diploma options:

  • Honors diploma - Honors thesis option
  • Honors with Distinction diploma 

The Honors Thesis project is a substantial,  independent, research/creative endeavor. Students who complete an Honors Thesis earn six academic credit hours. Honors students initiate their own thesis project after identifying a full-time faculty mentor who has agreed to advise them throughout the project.

The UHP’s role is to facilitate the thesis process. The role of the UHP is not to define the specifics of a thesis, but rather to provide research and program support. Thesis projects are discipline-specific and representative of scholarship in the student’s own field. Students will work closely with a thesis mentor and their academic department to craft a thesis that meets the discipline's standards for original research. Finally, the UHP does not assign grades to the academic credits awarded for the thesis. The faculty mentor grades the thesis and assigns the letter grade.

The important milestones for completing an Honors thesis are as follows (the UHP provides Honors thesis students with a timeline specific to their academic calendar.):

Junior Year

  • Identify an Honors Thesis Faculty Mentor
  • Complete the Thesis Intent Document located on Porches by November 10  
  • Attend the Junior Honors Thesis Proposal and Fellowship Request Workshop (January)
  • Complete CITI Responsible Conduct of Research Training through Isidore
  • Complete and submit the Honors Thesis Research Proposal and Fellowship Request located on Isidore (Due by the start of Spring Break)

Senior Year

  • Continue research and preparation of project materials
  • Attend Senior Honors thesis Workshop (October)
  • Write manuscript and complete preparation of project materials
  • Present research at the Honors Student Symposium at Stander (April)
  • Complete thesis project and submit manuscript to the UHP (Due April 15)

Full-time faculty members of the University of Dayton are eligible to serve as Honors thesis mentors.  The faculty mentor should have scholarly expertise in the Honors thesis subject.  For most Honors thesis writers, the faculty mentor is a faculty member in the student’s major department.  Occasionally, an Honors student may choose to write a thesis outside their major.  In that case, the faculty mentor’s discipline should align with the thesis topic.

The Honors thesis mentor performs the following roles:

  • Mentors the project from its inception
  • Determines the academic threshold the student must meet
  • Provides feedback until the project is completed
  • Provides interim progress reports to the UHP
  • Grades the completed project ( a grade of "B" or better for the completed thesis is necessary to count towards the completion of an Honors diploma option) and submits the grade to the Registrar during the semester grading period.

Exceptions: On rare occasions,  a student may have an Honors thesis mentor who is not a UD faculty member. Examples include:  a UD staff member; an expert from another college, university or research lab; or a mentor from a community or service organization. In these cases the student will also need an advisor of contact, who is a full-time UD faculty member.  The advisor of contact will coordinate with the student’s Honors thesis mentor by submitting interim progress reports and thesis course grades. Typically, the department chair or program director for which the thesis credits are being pursued serves as the advisor of contact in these cases. The advisor of contact does not have an active role in the oversight of the project and does not set the expectations for content or completion. 

NOTE:  The UHP does not provide additional compensation for individuals who serve as an Honors thesis mentor or advisor of contact.

The thesis is a single, extended learning experience, and a letter grade will be assigned only when the thesis is completed. Thesis candidates earn six academic credits and will be enrolled in one 3-credit thesis course in each of their last two semesters at the University. Mentors will grade the first course as "satisfactory/unsatisfactory" progress as the thesis is not yet completed. Once the final thesis is submitted in the student’s last semester, the mentor will determine a letter grade for the entire project, assigning that grade to the second thesis course in UD’s grading system. The grading of all six credit hours of thesis is the responsibility of the thesis mentor/adviser of contact. Students should always review grading standards and criteria very carefully with their mentors during the early stages of the thesis.  Faculty mentors will inform the UHP of the final thesis grade and the UHP will change the first thesis course grade from “unsatisfactory/satisfactory” to the assigned letter grade.

Occasionally, a student decides they do not want to continue their thesis.  That’s okay.  If a student decides to discontinue the thesis project prior to its completion or, in the very rare case  they are not making satisfactory progress towards the completion of the thesis, the student must formally withdraw from the thesis by contacting the thesis mentor and the University Honors Program.

If you are interested in learning more about the Honors thesis process, please visit Honors Thesis FAQs


Honors Program

Alumni Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0311