Congratulations! Your undergraduate career is coming to a close, and your Honors thesis or capstone project in your major stands as one of the concrete representations of your accomplishment. In addition, the thesis also stands as part of your legacy, to LMU in general and to the University Honors Program in particular.
These instructions are meant to ensure that your thesis or major capstone is properly presented and archived as part of the University Honors Program Thesis Library. Please follow them precisely. Issues with submitting your thesis may delay or impede your graduation.
What Comprises Your Thesis
Your Honors thesis is fulfilled by completing original scholarly work through either an individualized HNRS 4100 section or a capstone project or course within your major. In either case, you are expected to produce an artifact that reports on or represents the work performed for the option that applies to you. Examples include a scholarly paper, a screenplay, a recital or other live performance, a work of art, or an open source hardware/software project.
This work has been mentored and graded by a faculty advisor who was formally identified prior to starting your project. For HNRS 4100, this faculty member served as the instructor for your individualized section of that course. For capstone projects within your major, this faculty member served as the instructor for that capstone course. In either case, your faculty advisor is asked to grade and sign off on the final version of your thesis.
How to Start Your Thesis Work
As you enter your graduating year, you need to answer the following questions about your Honors thesis:
- Does my major have a capstone project course?
If your major has a capstone project course, then a thesis project can be completed through this course. Note that simply completing a term paper or final paper in a capstone course does not constitute fulfilling your thesis requirement. Your project must generate original scholarly work that characteristic of that which is done in your discipline. If your major does not have such a course, then you will need to enroll in an individualized HNRS 4100 section.
- In which semester will I be completing my thesis work?
It is highly recommended that graduating seniors complete their thesis work in the fall semester. However, under some circumstances (such as a course within the major), the work will need to be finished in the spring semester. Try as much as possible to finish your work in the fall, to allow for spring as a wrap-up period in case unforeseen delays are encountered.
- Who is my thesis advisor?
If you are fulfilling the Honors thesis requirement through a capstone project course in your major, then your thesis advisor is the instructor for that course. If you are taking an individualized HNRS 4100 section, you need to identify and “sign on” a thesis advisor on your own. This thesis advisor must be an LMU faculty member. Once identified, this professor becomes the instructor who is assigned to your HNRS 4100 section, and is thus responsible for guiding your work and giving you a grade.
Before each semester, the Associate Director of the University Honors Program will contact you and ask for this information. However, you need not wait for this contact; you can send the information as soon as you know it:
- Whether you have a capstone project course or need an HNRS 4100 section
- Semester for thesis completion (fall of your senior year, as much as possible)
- Course number of your capstone project course (if going that route)
- Thesis advisor
If you have any questions or need guidance in answering these questions, please contact the Associate Director of the University Honors Program.
Disseminating Your Work
To “close the loop” on your research or creative work, you are required to seek dissemination of your thesis work by submitting an abstract to the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Abstract acceptance is not required—just submission. By doing this, you will have modeled the full process of scholarly or creative work, from the determination and initiation of an inquiry to its documentation and finally dissemination, all under the mentorship of a faculty advisor.
Presenting your work at a broader academic venue, such as a regional or national conference, is also highly encouraged, and, if achieved, can substitute for the aforementioned abstract submission to the Symposium. In this case, you may also apply for an Honors Ambassadorial Grant to help fund your travel, lodging, and other costs of presentation.
Submission to the Digital Commons
Upon completion, your thesis will consist of a collection of deliverables. For example, this can be: a final research paper; a recital program and a recording of the performance; or photographs of a project and related document or design files.
The University Honors Program requires that you submit these items to the Hannon Library Digital Commons Honors Thesis collection. Submission to Digital Commons comprises one of the requirements for attaining credit for Honors Portfolio & Assessment.
Thesis Cover Sheet
For uniformity of presentation, your thesis submission should include a thesis cover sheet. A template for this sheet is available as a public Google Doc:
Access the template with a web browser, choose File > Make a Copy… to create your own editable copy of the file, then enter the information that is specific to your thesis. Append this to your uploaded submission.
How to Submit Your Thesis
Thesis submission to your adviser or capstone course instructor for evaluation and grading is separate and determined by the faculty member. These instructions pertain to thesis submission to the University Honors Program.
Upon completion of your thesis project, go to the Digital Commons Honors Thesis website and upload your work to that site. The work does not appear right away, but will be “published” after the end of the school year following one last round of review. Additional detailed instructions are available at the Digital Commons site.
Signed Permission Letter
The only submittable item that is not electronic is a signed permission letter allowing the Hannon Library to distribute your work to the web at large, as opposed to just making it available within the campus network. This permission letter is required to be physically on-file in order to permit Internet-wide distribution.
The permission form is available as this PDF download. Download, print, fill out, and sign the form, then drop it off at the Honors office. The library needs this form in order to have the work be available on the Digital Commons platform.
When to Submit Your Thesis
Your thesis must be submitted to both your thesis adviser and Digital Commons before the end of the semester, so that it can be evaluated and graded. A more specific deadline may be set by your adviser, whether for HNRS 4100 or for a capstone course in your major. The Digital Commons submission, which is required for Honors Portfolio & Assessment credit, must be provided by the Friday of finals week at the latest.
Due to the university grading deadline, thesis materials that are not received by the immediate end of the semester will appear as an Incomplete under the Honors Portfolio & Assessment course in the Honors core curriculum. This incomplete is updated as soon as the thesis materials have been received.
If you have any questions about your thesis submission, please direct them to the Associate Director of the University Honors Program as soon as possible.