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Honors College

Thesis & Oral Defense: HONS 4902

The goal in having the thesis is to demonstrate student capability to initiate, conduct, complete and present research that is worthy of recognition in their own fields of study. The length of a thesis will vary according to the nature of the discipline but is generally shorter in the sciences (25-35 pages) and longer in the humanities, business, and social sciences (40-60 pages). Citation method (APA, MLA, Turabian, Chicago, etc.) will vary by discipline and should be denoted on the thesis proposal. Some departments or disciplines view student thesis work as something not only that should be presented in conferences (state, regional, national, or international) but also should produce a manuscript submission for journals. For these situations, the Honors College Dean and Thesis Advisor will collaboratively set length requirements. All final drafts of the thesis should be submitted to the Oral Defense Committee for review at least one week prior to the defense. To complete the Honors College requirements and receive the Honors Seal, graduating students must successfully defend their thesis prior to the end of the semester in which they will graduate. The thesis proposal form is available here.

Oral Defense Committees & Thesis Defense

The thesis advisor, in consultation with the honors student, will select one or two other faculty members with expertise related to the senior project to serve as voting members on the Oral Defense Committee. The thesis advisor will Chair and be a voting member of the committee. The CSU Honors College Dean will appoint one non-voting member (which could be the Dean) from the Honors Education Committee to serve on committee.

All students are encouraged to defend their thesis at least three weeks prior to the end of the term to allow for revisions, if required. The student will give committee members of the Oral Defense Committee for review at least one week prior to the defense. The defense must be attended by all voting committee members who will meet immediately following student presentation to discuss both oral and written work, make suggested edits (if any), and to decide whether or not student passes “as is,” “with minor edits,” “substantial changes under oversight of Thesis Advisor,” or “needs to make major changes in written and oral work.” Should the committee suggest the latter, the student and Thesis Advisor would need to set another defense date – meeting the same timeline expectations provided for the first defense. In this case, the student either could defend before semester's end (if the 2nd defense date allows sufficient time before semester's end).

An unsuccessful defense or juried recital will not in itself interfere with a student's graduation unless the thesis hours are needed for graduation. If the defense is unsuccessful, the student may revise the thesis according to the recommendations of the committee and may defend a second time. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, the student will not have satisfied the requirements of the Honors College, even though all other requirements of the program may be fulfilled. Academic misconduct, including plagiarism, associated with an honors senior project will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the course.

Students should prepare copies of the Thesis Cover Page prior to the defense, and if the defense is successful, members of the committee will sign the cover page at the end of their deliberations. View the required format and an example of the Thesis Cover Page. (pdf)

Thesis Binding

Two copies of the bound thesis will be placed in the Simon Schwob Library; one copy will be given to the Honors College. Students should also check with their academic department to determine if a bound copy is desired. Students completing projects may include a DVD or CD which may be placed in pockets adhered to the back cover of the thesis. Current instructions on preparing a thesis for binding is available on the library website at:

It is the responsibility of the Honors student to provide CSU with at least three bound copies of the thesis. The student may order more copies for personal use.