A successful thesis requires a viable proposal, goal-setting, time management, and interpersonal skills on top of the disciplinary skills associated with your intended area of honors. This guide will walk you through the thesis process.

Suggested Timetable

Students should begin planning to complete a thesis or project early in their academic endeavors. While a senior thesis/project does not necessarily follow a strict timetable, students who plan accordingly are less likely to encounter great difficulties.


Below is a typical timetable for the completion of the work. Students who adhere closely to this timetable should not run into great difficulties. Students who need significant changes in their thesis timeline due to competing obligations (study-away semester, student teaching, etc.), should be sure to work closely with the thesis coordinator. 

Junior Year
First Semester
  • Research potential topics
  • Attend a Thesis Information Meeting
  • Identify and select an adviser
  • Discuss registration for the Thesis Proposal Preparation semester with your Honors adviser
Junior Year
Second Semester
  • Enroll in Thesis Proposal Preparation Semester
  • Attend mandatory workshops and meetings
  • Narrow topic
  • Begin preliminary research
  • Develop methodology
  • Create a reading list
  • Submit the thesis proposal to the Honors College (Due the first day of finals week)
Senior Year
First Semester
  • Meet with adviser regularly (every two weeks) to discuss work in progress, issues/challenges, readings, etc.
  • Complete most of the research and writing of the thesis
  • Select the oral defense committee
  • Attend a thesis progress meeting
  • Submit a progress report to the thesis coordinator at the conclusion of the semester
Senior Year
Second Semester
  • Select a time and place for the oral defense
  • Make any corrections to the thesis
  • Prepare for the thesis defense
  • Prepare final manuscript and submit to OhioLink ETD
Selecting a Topic  

Some students start with an idea, others start with an advisor. A good thesis topic should be well-aligned with a student's interests, the faculty advisor's expertise, and the discipline for which the student is seeking a degree.

A good topic requires background knowledge but should also focus on an interesting question or problem that can be approached analytically, not just descriptively. A creative project should evoke hard thinking about the work to be done in its context of tradition and practice, and it should include an analysis in which students consider the work intellectually.

Above all, the topic must be realistic—that is, the student must be able to complete it satisfactorily in the semesters planned for the thesis. A topic that is too broad will not allow you to say something significant and interesting about it. A topic that is too ambitious may prevent timely graduation. Feasibility is a criterion for approval of a thesis proposal.

Selecting an Advisor

All theses must be formally directed by a full-time member of the Kent State University faculty in an appropriate discipline. The thesis advisor serves as a student's mentor throughout the entire process and also as the committee chair for the Oral Defense Committee.

Co-advisors are permitted if necessary, especially for students who wish to approach the thesis/project from an interdisciplinary perspective. A student with a history major, for instance, might wish to do a thesis that deals with the literary trends of a particular historical period (e.g., the Restoration or the French Revolution). In such a case, the student could have a primary advisor from History and a co-advisor from English.

Project Guidelines

This section contains detailed explanations of various steps of the thesis process, beginning with the selection of an advisor and topic and continuing with writing a proposal, conducting the research, writing the thesis (or preparing the project with accompanying essay, etc.), selecting the oral defense committee, preparing the final product, defending the thesis, and submitting the final, revised copies.

Formatting Guide

Please read these guidelines in their entirety before formatting.  Proofread the final draft carefully.

Expenses and Sponsorship

Preparation of the manuscript can become somewhat expensive, especially in certain disciplines. The Honors College has limited funds available to help defray these and other expenses connected to the thesis.

Oral Defense

The oral defense is required of all students who complete the thesis/project. The members of the committee are selected by the student and the faculty adviser. Names of the committee members must be submitted to the Honors College by the end of the first semester the student is registered for thesis hours.

Thesis Submission Guide

The final copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Honors College and the online copy uploaded to OhioLink by the Monday of finals week in order for the student to receive the Honors notation on the transcripts.