The following information directs students on proposing, completing and presenting the Eastern Kentucky University Honors Thesis. For complete and detailed information on the Honors thesis, be sure to consult the Honors Thesis Handbook (updated Fall 2019, PDF, 1 Mb).
An Honors thesis project may take the form of a traditional research thesis or a creative research thesis. Most Honors students (approximately 90 percent) choose to do Honors thesis projects that are closely related to their majors, but it is not required that you do so. Some of our very best Honors theses over the years have been produced by students working either outside their major entirely or in interdisciplinary projects only partially related to their majors.
Students should submit the Honors Thesis Proposal Form (updated October 2021, DOCX, 18 Kb) at the end of the semester preceding the first semester they enroll in in HON 420. For the student beginning in the fall semester, that means May 1 of the preceding semester. For the student planning to begin in the spring semester, they must submit their proposal by December 1 of the preceding semester. This document briefly describes the thesis project and identifies a thesis mentor. It is important that the student find a thesis mentor who has similar interests and hence can provide useful assistance throughout the two-semester duration of the thesis project. This document should be electronically submitted to the Honors director.
Most students will complete the thesis over two semesters of HON 420 enrollment, taking 3 credit hours of HON 420 each of the two semesters in order to complete the required (and maximum) six total credit hours of honors thesis credit. We strongly encourage students to begin thesis no later than the second semester of junior year so that they may seek opportunities during their final semester to present their research at conferences and/or publish their work.
The Oral Presentation
The thesis project will be presented orally to an audience of peers, faculty and guests at the Honors Thesis Conference held at the end of each fall and spring semester. The exact dates of the thesis conferences will be determined by the end of the previous semester. The Honors director is responsible for drawing up the schedule of oral presentations. In addition, students enrolled in HON 420 will serve as the discussant for one other thesis student. The discussant’s role is to draw attention to significant points for the discussion period that follows the oral presentation. The Honors director is responsible for assigning students enrolled in HON 420 as discussants.
Students should be aware that the paper they use for their oral presentation will likely not be the same as the written paper which they will turn into their thesis mentor. This is because the requirements of giving a clear and concise oral presentation are different than the requirements of producing a quality written thesis. Students whose thesis project does not take the form of a written paper will still be required to do a presentation of their work.
Grading the Thesis Project
Most students will complete their Honors theses through two consecutive semesters of enrollment in HON 420. At the end of the first semester of enrollment, the Honors director, in consultation with the thesis mentor, will assign a letter grade to the student on the basis of the satisfactory completion of all assignments associated with first-semester enrollment in HON 420. Following the completion of the thesis in the second semester of HON 420 enrollment, the faculty mentor will assign a letter grade to the project, and the Honors director will record that grade.
In rare cases, students may elect to do the entire thesis project in a single semester, enrolling for all six required credit hours of HON 420 in that semester. Students should discuss this option at length with the Honors director before registering for the six-hour section of HON 420. In such cases, the faculty mentor will assign the final grade to the project at the end of the semester of the six-hour HON 420 enrollment.
Honors students should be aware that the responsibility for the completion of the thesis project and seminar rests with the student. All written portions of the thesis will be uploaded onto the university’s digital archive at least two weeks before the end of the semester where the mentor will be prompted to view and grade it. If the thesis project takes another form (a concert, art exhibit, etc.) it must be submitted to the archive in an alternative and permanent form.
Graduating students are recognized for their achievements at the Honors Convocation, held at the end of each fall and spring semester. Each student should retain a copy of the finished thesis project and should mention the thesis project in letters of application to graduate and professional schools and potential employers, as it is quite an achievement!
Students are expected to read and review the Honors Thesis Handbook (updated Fall 2019, PDF, 1 Mb) for complete and detailed information.
Thesis Forms and Documents
Have questions about the Honors Thesis? First, consult the Honors Thesis FAQ page and the Honors Thesis Handbook (updated Fall 2019, PDF, 1 Mb). If your question is not answered by either of those documents, email Executive Director of EKU Honors Dr. David Coleman.