National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Innovations in Undergraduate Research and Honors Education: Proceedings of the Second Schreyer National Conference 2001, ed. Josephine M. Carubia & Renata S. Engel. Copyright © 2004 The National Collegiate Honors Council.


The honors thesis is considered to be the capstone undergraduate academic experience. Beyond representing the culmination of course work, it can provide a unique opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary mode. Moreover, it provides acculturation to the academic environment and the opportunity to participate in the scholarly communication process. At the undergraduate level, the significance of the acculturation process is equal to, or more important than, the final thesis product. In addition to mastering subject content, students must learn the fundamentals of designing and executing research. Honors theses share several important characteristics: mentorship, originality, acceptability (consistent with current practice in the discipline), and dissemination (resulting in tangible products critiqued by others in the discipline) (Hakim, 1998).