Individually Contracted Honors Thesis
The Individually Contracted Honors Thesis focuses on an original question that you explore through an individual academic contract with a faculty member. This process requires several steps: the articulation of the concept and content, the creation of the Honors Thesis Contract, and the convening of a two-person Thesis Committee, which must include a Faculty Committee Chair and a Committee Member.
Honors Thesis Formats
The Portfolio format involves a written document coupled with a creative artifact, such as a performance, musical score, architectural blueprint, engineering invention, screenplay, business case study, collection of original poetry, or art exhibition.
The Research Manuscript is the customary format for presenting extended investigation and research.
Honors Thesis Proposals
A proposal is required for each semester of the Individually Contracted option for the Honors Thesis.
Both the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 1) and 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 2) provide a definition of your Honors Thesis work and establish a comprehensive list of goals, methodology, evaluation procedures, and faculty expectations. Once you submit each proposal and it is approved, it becomes a contract, serving as an agreement between you and your Thesis Committee and protecting against misunderstandings that could cause problems with grading or delays in your graduation clearance. The Individually Contracted Honors Thesis Timeline provides useful guidelines.
The Individually Contracted Honors Thesis oral defense typically consists of an hour-long meeting between you and the Thesis Committee in which you will be asked to discuss various aspects of your work. It is possible that the oral defense might consist of a presentation at the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference or within your department.
Credits and Scheduling
The Honors Thesis is traditionally completed over two semesters in the senior year, divided into two courses of 3+ credits each: 499Y Semester Plan Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 1) and 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 2).*
Ideally, you will start your Individually Contracted Honors Thesis by April of your junior year, lining up your faculty Committee Chair and creating and submitting your 499Y Semester Plan Proposal by the end of the spring semester of your junior year. You will spend the first semester of your senior year both conducting research and preparing to write and submit your 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal, which specifies the intent of the Honors Thesis. The spring semester of your senior year will be devoted to completing the Honors Thesis.
* If you intend to complete all 6 credits in one semester, complete and submit only the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 2).