The supervisor and/or thesis reviewer may award any one of the following:
- Pass with Distinction: The thesis exceeds expectations. A thesis passed with distinction qualifies for
publication on the website and SOAR.
- Pass: The thesis meets expectations. A thesis passed will be considered for publication
on the website and SOAR.
- Pass with Revisions: The thesis does not meet expectations but the basic hypothesis and data are sufficient
in quality and quantity to recommend minor revisions. To complete requirements for
the Honors Baccalaureate, the student must revise a thesis awarded passed with revisions
by any reviewer and resubmit for review by the faculty thesis supervisor by the current
- Fail: Student has not completed written or creative assignments and the thesis contains
significant flaws. At the discretion of the faculty thesis supervisor, the student
whose thesis is awarded a fail by any reviewer may revise the thesis and resubmit
for consideration in the next semester.
Some Pitfalls for Thesis Supervisors to Avoid:
Although every discipline has different ways of approaching and evaluating Honors
Theses, some problems arise across disciplines that could be avoided with a little
1) Don’t let the student take on too broad or difficult of a topic. Although it is important that the student’s excitement for the questions be encouraged,
they will not necessarily know what is possible to accomplish in a single year. The
burden for that decision rests largely on the readers at the time of the prospectus.
Ideally, the work for an Honors Thesis is roughly equivalent to the work for two three-hour
courses, but the vast majority of students spend a great deal more time on their projects.
The majority of students who don't pursue or complete the Honors Thesis do so because
they simply do not have sufficient time for the project they began.
2) Don’t let the student take up too much of your time. We don’t want your first experience with an Honors Thesis to be your last. Discuss
frankly with the student what your expectations and constraints are and make sure
that he/she is aware of other resources available for writing support on campus. We
do not expect a Second Reader to be heavily involved until the defensible version,
although individual readers vary in their commitments.
3) Be clear about deadlines, and the order in which work must be accomplished. The Thesis Advisor may set any intermediate deadlines for work that seems appropriate,
and students are often helped by having set dates for the completion of the various
steps. If it is important to the Thesis Advisor, for example, that the student complete
a literature review before beginning research, the student needs to know this and
needs to know how that changes the project timeline.
4) Don’t lose contact with the student. There’s no other way of making sure that progress is being made toward the thesis.
At the beginning of the process, deadlines for reaching certain plateaus should be
established and maintained. If the student is having difficulty, everyone will recognize
that fact earlier if there’s a deadline. There will be less work for the faculty members
and the student if there’s no last minute rush to finish the project.
5) Insist on an appropriate amount of originality from the student. In some situations, a literature overview is an appropriate project for an Honors
Thesis, and it is very unlikely that any undergraduate student will accomplish truly
ground-breaking work, but the purpose of the Honors Thesis is to encourage the student
along that path. If the student is not designing his/her own research from the ground
up, they should make a substantial contribution and should at least understand and
be able to articulate why, for example, design decisions were made in the way that
they were and what relevance these decisions have to the project as a whole.