Honors Thesis

Congratulations! Your undergraduate career is coming to a close, and your Honors thesis 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 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 5000 section (formerly HNRS 4100), or a thesis-equivalent 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 5000, this faculty member served as the instructor for your individualized section of that course. For thesis-equivalent projects within your major, this faculty member served as the instructor for that 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 thesis-equivalent course?
    If your major has its own thesis-equivalent 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 undergraduate scholarly work as defined by your discipline. If your major does not have such a course, then you will need to enroll in an individualized HNRS 5000 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. (For students who plan to graduate in the fall, the schedule shifts ahead by a semester: aim to do most of your thesis work in the spring prior, then finalize/submit all closing requirements in the fall.)
  • Who is my thesis advisor?
    If you are fulfilling the Honors thesis requirement through a thesis-equivalent project course in your major, then your thesis advisor is the instructor for that course. If you are taking an individualized HNRS 5000 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 5000 section, and is thus responsible for guiding your work and giving you a grade.

Before each semester, the Research Advisor 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 thesis-equivalent course in your major or need an HNRS 5000 section
  • Semester for thesis completion (fall of your senior year, as much as possible; spring of junior year if graduating in the fall)
  • Course number of your thesis-equivalent course (if going that route)
  • Thesis advisor (i.e., the professor who will guide and grade your work)

If you have any questions or need guidance in answering these questions, please contact the Research Advisor 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 advisor or thesis-equivalent 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 signed permission letter allows 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 specifies the level of sharing that you permit, ranging from Internet-wide distribution to archival only (i.e., no distribution).

The permission letter is available as this Adobe Sign PDF. Fill out and sign the form, and it will then go to your thesis advisor. After your advisor fills out their portion, a link to the final version will be emailed to you. Please upload that final version to your HNRS 4000 Brightspace page.

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 5000 or for a thesis-equivalent 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 Research Advisor of the University Honors Program as soon as possible.