Frequently Asked Questions about the Honors Thesis

When do I do my thesis?

The Honors Council encourages you to initiate your thesis as soon as you can. Your sophomore year is not too early to identify an advisor and an academic question to answer. Thesis proposals should be submitted in your junior year.

How do I find an academic advisor?

An academic advisor is chosen by you; the request to advise may be based on your positive interaction with a specific professor, the professor’s expertise in the area of your research, or your interest in a professor’s teaching.

Does the advisor need to be from LSSU?

Yes, the principal advisor needs to be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at LSSU, but a co-advisor from another academic institution or the world at large can be arranged with the agreement of the LSSU Honors Council.

How do I choose an academic question for my thesis?

Your academic question or hypothesis should reflect your interest areas or major field of study. The question may be one to which you have always wanted to know the answer, or it may reflect a question you identified from one of your classes or discussions with a professor. Ultimately you should have a passion or deep interest in the question you research.

What is an academic question?

An academic question is one which asks the “how” or the “why” of some topic. This thrust invites further research and deeper curiosity about an answer by engaging the relevant scholarly literature.

What is a thesis proposal?

A thesis proposal is a document that provides the necessary background to your question, clearly identifies the question being asked or the hypothesis being tested, provides the methodology you will use to answer that question, and notes what the expected results might be and what these results mean placed in the context of what is known. An annotated bibliography of 5 or 6 key references is needed, as is an appendix if you have human or animal studies approval, graphs, figures or charts of preliminary data, or rubrics which you will use for analysis, and questionnaires or interview questions you will use. Annotating a bibliography means preparing a short commentary on each reference you use in the proposal.

How long must the thesis proposal be?

The thesis proposal should be long enough to clearly explain what you wish to do, in language the educated academic can understand, even if the proposal is not in his or her academic discipline. Normally, the body of the proposal, including the literature review, the question being asked, the methodology and the expected results and conclusion sections, will not exceed seven, double-spaced typewritten pages.

When should the thesis proposal be completed and submitted to the Honors Council for review and approval?

The Honors Council has three deadline dates. They are: April 01 for work to begin in the summer, October 15 for work to begin in the spring.

Can the thesis proposal be submitted at any other time?

The thesis proposal can be turned in to the Honors College whenever it is ready, but must be approved by the Honors Council before you begin your research.

Who evaluates the proposal?

The Honors Council reviews the proposal.

Are proposals accepted without alteration?

Yes, many proposals are accepted without alteration, while others may require further explanation and revision.

Are any proposals rejected? If so, why are they rejected and what does this mean?

Yes, a proposal can be rejected, but that is very rare. It is much more likely that a proposal will be returned to a student for revision and explanation of critical points identified by the reviewers. When the student responds to those questions with cogent answers, the research can begin.

When is my completed thesis due in Honors?

The written thesis is due by April 1st, or the first business day after.

When will I make my oral presentation?

Oral presentations are scheduled during mid April and usually take place on a Saturday.

What style and format do I use for my thesis?

The style (e.g. APA, MLA) should reflect that used by the major academic journals in your disciplinary area. You and your advisor will agree on which style you will follow.

Who will attend my thesis presentation?

Anyone may attend your presentation. We encourage you to invite your friends, but that is up to you.  Your thesis advisor, the Honors Council, and possibly, additional faculty reviewers selected by the Honors Council shall also be there. Please prepare an oral presentation that is accessible to the whole academic community.

How will I know if I have passed?

You will be notified by the Honors Director within twenty four hours of the Honors Council’s decision.

What if I receive a pass contingent upon making revisions?

You will have 2 to 3 weeks to make all corrections, get your thesis advisor’s and the Honors Council ’s approval of the changes, and submit two new, corrected, copies to the Honors Director.

What if I do not pass?

All students must complete the thesis project to the satisfaction of both their thesis advisor and the Honors Council. A “do not pass” rating may reflect a lack of effort, content, or overall performance. Each case will be dealt with on an individual basis. A completely revised thesis must usually be submitted to the Honors Council. In most cases, another oral presentation is not required.

This page’s content has been used and modified from Washington State University ( with the permission of Libby Walker, Ph.D., Interim Dean.