Honors Thesis Overview

Students wishing to graduate with honors in education studies must write an honors thesis during their senior year. The thesis should serve as a capstone experience to the undergraduate major in education studies; it is a challenging enterprise that can be among the most significant and rewarding activities in your undergraduate career. 

Writing a thesis involves extensive empirical and/or theoretical/analytical investigation into an educational topic, and it requires careful scholarship, good organizational skills, and the ability to work independently. Successful completion of an honors thesis will require a substantial, sustained effort through which you will gain skills and expertise that will serve you well beyond the undergraduate program. It will provide you with the opportunity to: 1) develop expertise in a particular topic related to education, 2) learn how to critically analyze existing research in the field of education, 3) learn how to conduct empirical research, and 4) improve your organizational and written and oral communication skills.

In your junior year, you should begin contemplating the possibility of doing a senior thesis. You should consider the following questions:

If you can answer these questions affirmatively, you should speak with an Education Program professor during your junior year. Additionally, you must submit a two-page project proposal to the Honors Thesis Coordinator preferably during the spring of your junior year and no later than the end of first week of classes in the fall semester of your senior year.

Requirements and Eligibility

Students must:

a. have a minimum overall GPA of 3.50 by the end of junior year,
b. submit a two-page proposal to the Honor Thesis Coordinator in the first week of classes in your senior year, and
c. complete the Honors Thesis Seminar (non-credit, meeting several times in senior year).

Interested students who do not meet the requirements to write an honors thesis may petition the Honors Thesis Coordinator and the Director of the Education Program well in advance of the deadline. Petitions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Standards for an Honors Thesis

Students must:

a. meet the deadlines for thesis completion,
b. produce an empirical or theoretical/analytical thesis that meets the form and style requirements set by the Education Program, and
c. conduct an oral presentation/defense of the project in late spring semester.


The thesis committee will make a recommendation to the Education Program faculty based on the quality of the project and paper after the formal presentation in late spring. A student thesis can earn honors, high honors, or highest honors. The criteria for these designations are:


The student has successfully completed and defended an honors thesis with distinction, in writing and person.

High Honors

The student has successfully completed and defended an honors thesis with unusual distinction, in writing and in person.

Highest Honors

The student has successfully completed and defended an honors thesis with the highest distinction, in writing and in person. Only the most original scholarship and eloquent presentation warrant this evaluation.