Honors Mentoring for Thesis & Project

The Honors thesis or project is a significant undertaking, produced at the undergraduate level but of particularly fine quality and greater sophistication than other students might produce. In other words, it is less substantial than a graduate thesis, but more so than a final project in an undergraduate course. The Honors student's thesis or project should be the most developed effort of the undergraduate years. 

The Honors Program senior thesis or project is the capstone to the student’s undergraduate experience in Honors. It is a two-semester project, which is begun in HONR 400R: Honors Capstone and completed in HONR 498R: Honors Thesis or HONR 499R: Honors Project.

The Thesis results in 40-50 pages of research and writing on a topic approved by the student’s Committee. The Project is a more flexible endeavor, but it involves a similar time commitment to an applied project, e.g., a scientific or social science paper, data collection and analysis, laboratory work, artistic exhibition, performance, etc. All Projects must have some kind of public component: a conference presentation, workshop, poster session, seminar, publication in an academic or creative journal, etc. on a topic approved by the student’s Committee.

While the research or inspiration may come easily to the student, turning that into a well-organized thesis or polished project is often more of a challenge and can require multiple drafts, logistical support, and other mentoring. The Honors Program Director meets with all thesis & project students frequently in a face-to-face class during HONR 400R to provide general support, planning assistance, a peer review group, and other mentoring on the research and design process.  Discipline-specific mentoring is left to the student’s faculty committee.

Students will be more independent during HONR 498R or HONR 499R, but will still meet in regular conferences with the Honors Director and with their mentors.



Most students find that their thesis or project chair not only helps with conceptualization and execution, but that they are a vital resource during the writing or completion phase. Chairs will likely have been involved from the proposal stage onwards. They approve and sign the student’s proposal, as well as the final documents. Chairs should hold a full-time position at UVU, typically from the tenured or tenure-track faculty, although staff members are permitted. The Chair becomes the person with whom the student develops the strongest working relationship. Co-chairs are acceptable if appropriate because of interdisciplinary work or dual majors.

The Honors Program thesis or project requirement is designed to promote independent scholarship, research, and creativity. Students are advised to select a chair on the basis of their expertise, congruence with interests, and on the prospect of having a supportive working relationship.

Students should conscientiously develop a close working relationship with their chair. Regularly scheduled meetings regarding the thesis or project work are the norm. It is up to the student to maintain contact; it is not acceptable to merely present a completed document to the chair and expect a signature. Students create a work plan in consultation with the chair and committee and stick to it. The plan may be modified as needed as you proceed, of course. Discuss progress reports and submission of draft sections as well. The chair participates in the Oral Defense when the thesis or project is completed.  Use this link to access the electronic copy of the “Thesis and Project Guidelines” document students use for document prep. 


Working as a team, the Honors student and the chair will select one or two other faculty, staff, or other experts as members of the committee. These individuals may hold the rank of Lecturer, Artist (or other expert) in Residence, or may be any community-based expert who is acceptable to the chair and the Honors Director. Each committee member participates in the Oral Defense when the thesis or project is completed. Use this link to access the electronic copy of the “Thesis and Project Guidelines” document students use for document prep. 


In the first semester, the student will ask the Chair to digitally sign a Progress Report at the end of the term, indicating the student has made sufficient progress on the thesis or project work and has been meeting with the Chair on a regular basis. 

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