Proposals for Individually Contracted Honors Thesis

Proposals for Individually Contracted Honors Thesis

A proposal is required for each semester of the Individually Contracted Thesis.  

 


Proposals Overview 

Both the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 1) and 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 2) require a definition of your Honors Thesis work and a comprehensive list of goals, methodology, evaluation procedures, and faculty expectations. Once you submit the proposal and it is approved, it becomes an academic 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 Timeline provides useful guidelines.  

 


499Y Semester Plan Proposal 

Your 499Y Semester Plan Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 1) will need to cover all the content listed below. 

Identify your Committee Chair 

  • You must recruit a faculty Committee Chair to serve on your Thesis Committee before you can submit the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal. 

  • As you develop the 499Y Semester Plan Proposal, actively consult with your Committee Chair, who may request additional information or may require adjustments that reflect the professional standards within the department. 

Honors Thesis goals 

  • Describe what you intend to discover or create during your Honors Thesis Research Manuscript or Portfolio experience. 

Key readings 

  • List the items that you plan to read in preparation for your own work. 

  • A literature review formatted in a style appropriate for your discipline is required as part of the proposal for the 499T/P semester. 

Communication 

  • Indicate how often will you meet with your Committee Chair. 

  • Describe your Committee Chair’s expectations of such meetings. 

Specialized training 

  • Does your proposed activity involve live human beings? If so, your committee chair may need to contact the UMass Office of Human Research Protection to establish whether your proposed work falls under the federal definition of human subject research. Please indicate the status of your proposed work in this regard. 
  • If work on your Honors Thesis should require specialized training (e.g., human/animal subjects testing, lab-safety instruction, survey technique), please specify the type of training required and when and from whom that training will be obtained. Review the Students Conducting Human Subjects Research page for more information.  

Methods or agenda 

  • Explain your broad goals for the Honors Thesis. In language appropriate for your disciplinary area, describe how you will decide on your methods or agenda. 

  • If you have already decided on your methods or agenda and have begun or will start your original work in the 499Y semester, describe what you will do, in language appropriate for your disciplinary area. 

  • If you are not in a position to describe your methods or agenda at this stage, note that you are required to do so in your proposal for the 499T/P semester plan. 

Timeline 

Give the deadline, dates, and descriptions, where relevant, for each of the following: 

  • a summary of the initially assigned readings. 

  • a draft of one or more sections of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal. 

  • a first draft of a chapter of the Honors Thesis. 

  • Other first-semester assignments, such as: 

  • weekly lab reports. 

  •  annotated bibliography specified by your Committee Chair. 

  • Completion of the literature review. 

  • Initiation of thesis research or creative endeavor.  

  • Recruitment of the second Committee Member, who must be named in the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal. 

  • Creation of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal. 

  • Online submission of the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal prior to the end of the 499Y semester. (See exact deadlines on the CHC PATHS landing page.) 

Submission process 

  • You will submit your 499Y Semester Plan Proposal as part of the Contract and Registration process via CHC PATHS

  •  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). 

 


499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal 

Your 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal (Honors Thesis Part 2) will need to cover all the content listed below. Note that 499T refers to the Research Manuscript format and 499P refers to the Portfolio format.  

Recruit your second Committee Member 

  • You must recruit a second Committee Member, in consultation with your Committee Chair, to serve on your Thesis Committee before you can submit the 499M/P Honors Thesis Proposal. 

  • As you develop the 499M/P Honors Thesis Proposal, check in frequently with your Thesis Committee members, as they may request additional information or may require adjustments that reflect the professional standards within the department(s) 

Introduction

What are you investigating and why? 

  • Provide a general description of your Honors Thesis topic (about 1 page) 

  • State the scientific question or creative endeavor (at least 1 page): 

  • describe objectives, hypotheses and/or other discipline-specific inquiry. 

  • Explain the significance of the research question or the creative endeavor (at least 1 page): 

  • relate the research question or creative endeavor to the key literature. 

  • explain the importance of your topic to the advancement of knowledge in the discipline. 
     

Literature review 

What have other scholars already written/published on your topic? 

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the primary literature (about 5-15 pages) 

  • As expectations vary by discipline, seek guidance from the Thesis Committee regarding length. 

  • Consult your Committee Chair about expectations regarding key literature and discipline-specific formatting style (e.g., Chicago, MLA, APA). 
     

Methods 

How are you conducting your research or creative endeavor? 

  • Detail the procedures or techniques you are using to conduct your research or produce your artifact. 

  • Describe the resources or materials you are using in your research. 

  • If specialized training was required for your thesis or project, e.g., lab safety certification or human/animal testing, describe the training you received. 

Evaluation 

How will your work be reviewed and graded? 

  • List the measurable goals the Thesis Committee expects you to accomplish during the semester. 

  • Indicate how your Thesis Committee will provide feedback regarding your progress. 

  • Indicate how your Thesis Committee will assess the viability of your research or creative endeavor in both the written and oral defense formats. 

  • If you are registering for the Portfolio option, be specific about the artifact that you will produce in addition to the manuscript (such as a performance, musical score, architectural blueprint, engineering invention, screenplay, business case study, collection of original poetry, or art exhibition). 

Communication 

Specify the expectations about Thesis Committee meetings: 

  • Frequency of meetings with your Committee Chair. 

  • Committee Chair’s expectations for these meetings. 

  • Frequency of meetings with the second Committee Member. 

  • Committee Member’s expectations for these meetings. 

  • Expected time commitment applied to your research or creative endeavor between meetings (for example, 10 hours of work per week). 

Timeline 

  • Specify the dates and expectations for the periodic review of your research/creative results: 

  • Weekly? 

  • Bi-weekly? 

  • Specify deadlines for each stage of your Research Manuscript or Portfolio: 

  • First outline 

  • First draft 

  • Second draft 

  • FINAL completed manuscript and artifact (where applicable) 

  • Note that your committee may require additional assignments 

  • Specify the date and type of your oral defense: 

  • (e.g., Thesis Committee only, public defense, public presentation or performance) 

Submission process 

  • You will submit your 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal as part of the contract approval and course registration process via CHC PATHS

  • Refer to CHC Paths for the exact deadlines for submission of proposals. 

  • 3If you intend to complete all 6 credits in one semester, use only the 499T/P Honors Thesis Proposal option on CHC PATHS