Honors Thesis

Honors Thesis Guidelines

The Honors Thesis is designed to encourage creative thinking and stimulate individual research. A student may undertake a thesis in an area in which they have the necessary background. Ordinarily a thesis topic is chosen in the student’s major or minor. It is also possible to choose an interdisciplinary topic.

Application to Complete an Honors Thesis

Students who are interested in writing an honors thesis should begin planning as early as possible the year prior to the completion of the thesis. To be eligible to apply to write an honors thesis, a student must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 based upon all courses completed at Carroll College. The application for writing a thesis must be submitted by September 30 of the Senior Year.

The Thesis Committee

The Thesis Committee consists of a director and two readers. The thesis director is a full-time Carroll College faculty member from the student’s major discipline or a full-time Carroll College faculty member approved by the department chair of the student’s major. At least one reader must be from outside the student’s major. The thesis director and the appropriate department chair must approve all readers. The director and the student will decide on the faculty members to serve as readers. The Thesis Committee should assist and mentor the student during the entire project.

Protection of Human Participants

For any projects involving Human Participants, each student and his or her director must follow the guidelines published by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Each student and his or her director must complete training by the National Cancer Institute Protection of Human Participants and submit their certification of training with this application.

Proposed Thesis Topic and Plan

All members of the Thesis Committee should participate in the selection of the theses topic and the completion of a thesis plan. The thesis plan should include a description of the scope and nature of the thesis; a preliminary work schedule, which includes a timeline for completion of the thesis; and the options chosen for registration for credit. Theses that involve any data collection with human participants (interviews, surveys, instruments, or observations) must have approval of the Institutional Review Board prior to data collections. Theses that do not follow the IRB application/approval process will not be approved for academic credit nor sanctioned by Carroll College.

Credit Requirements

The thesis is to be completed for three (3) credits. There are three options in registering for the three credits. They are: 1) registering for three credits in the fall semester; 2) registering for three credits in the spring semester; or 3) registering for one credit for the fall semester and two credits for the spring semester (or vice versa). In each case, the student will be working on the thesis during the fall and spring semesters. (Note: If the thesis credits exceed the credit limit, the charge for additional credits will be waived.)

Oral Presentation

An oral presentation of the Honors Thesis is the final component of the thesis process. Presentations are scheduled for all students during April following the completion of the honors thesis. The student, the thesis director, and the department chair may request exceptions to the policy.

Due Dates/Extensions

The completion date for the honors thesis is May 1 of the Senior Year. The completed thesis, with appropriate signatures, must be submitted to the Corette Library in pdf format by this date. The completion date and other due dates are to be observed as closely as possible. Requests for exceptions to the completion date are to be submitted, in writing, to the office of the Registrar. All requests must delineate reasons for the extension and indicate a new timeline for completion. The thesis director, department chair, and student must sign the request.


The thesis must be completed with a grade of C or better in order for the student to be eligible to graduate with honors.

Departmental Guidelines

There are some guidelines that are best determined within the academic departments. Some of these are:

  • A research seminar or other appropriate classes, either required or optional
  • Thesis format, appropriate style, and length
  • Appropriate thesis topics
  • Requirements specific to the discipline
  • Criteria for grading