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Honors Thesis Guide

Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

Thesis requirements vary according to the level of Latin honors you are attempting to attain. The level for which your thesis is approved is ultimately contingent upon its quality, as determined by your supervisor and readers according to the thesis evaluation criteria.

Thesis Requirements by Level

Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude

  • Requires the signature of at least one tenured or tenure-track faculty member in your major department, or (in certain colleges) the undergraduate dean. Colleges or departments may require additional readers.
  • Public thesis presentation is encouraged and may be required by some colleges/departments.

Summa Cum Laude

  • Requires three signatures:
    1. Tenured/tenure-track faculty member in your major department
    2. Tenured/tenure-track faculty member
    3. Tenured/tenure-track faculty member, clinical track or adjunct faculty member, or an individual with special expertise pertinent to your topic
  • One of these individuals must be designated as the thesis supervisor and the other two as readers. Colleges or departments may require that one reader be outside the major.
  • Public thesis presentation required: The form of the public presentation may be determined by the major department; it may entail a presentation at a colloquium or research symposium, a public recital or performance, or a traditional “defense” before the thesis supervisor and readers.

Thesis Evaluation Criteria

The honors thesis must demonstrate that the student:

  • Has developed excellent writing skills.
  • Understands the project's relevance to the field of study and/or to society;
  • Is able to apply theories and methods of research, analysis, or interpretation, or artistic techniques as appropriate to the field;
  • Has cited appropriate sources;
  • Is able to critically examine the work of other scholars or artists and relate that work to the thesis;
  • Has contributed original research, ideas, knowledge, interpretations, or creative expression at a level appropriate for undergraduate study, such that the thesis goes beyond describing existing work.