Senior Thesis Timeline
Over the summer, you should:
- Submit your Proposal (if required in your
- Conduct background research to determine
viability of topic.
- Decide on a topic or approach.
- Contact possible faculty advisors and
- Seek funding for your research; note funding
- Determine whether your research methods will
require IRB approval.
By the end of September, you should:
- Finalize your decision to write an honors
- Finalize your topic and research approach.
- Confirm thesis director and secondary
- Think about length, breadth, and size of
finished Thesis; consider chapter breakdowns or
other forms of presenting the finished product.
- Attend informational meetings and understand
- Create your own project timeline and goals.
October and November:
- Conduct research in library and online;
conduct lab research and/or field research (some
may have already conducted field research over
- Meet with librarians for guidance on
conducting advanced library or electronic research.
- Gather, record, and categorize information
as you find it; keep accurate bibliographic
notes and organized files.
- Keep a journal to record your ideas related
to thesis topic and research discoveries.
- Begin writing! You should be able to draft
some introductory sections of your thesis,
including your hypothesis, governing question,
or thesis statement, as well as your literature
review, methodology, and definitions of terms.
- Establish a regular meeting time with
primary advisor and committee members.
- Email weekly progress reports to advisors.
- OCTOBER 1 DEADLINE: Submit signed
"Thesis Honors Candidate" Form to Dowling
Hall Student Services Desk. The chairperson of
your major department must sign this
form. The form can be downloaded from the
Registrar's website at:
- Reassess chapter breakdowns; work on outline
of Thesis as whole. Begin to draft a chapter
(not necessarily the first chapter.)
- Mid-year assessment: You and your
advisor should assess your progress so far to
determine if you should continue to pursue the
Honors Thesis in the spring or switch to a
senior project or independent study. If you
decide to continue with the Honors Thesis, you
will receive a Y (for year-long) instead of a
grade on your report card in January.
- Plan detailed research and writing agenda
for Winter Break. If you are doing a traditional
thesis, you should plan to write a
substantial amount over Break!
- Submit draft of first chapter or section of
thesis to advisor when you return from Break.
- Remember to include a bibliography
with any draft you submit to your committee!
- Schedule a meeting with thesis director or
thesis committee to
discuss your work over Break.
- Plan a new timeline for Spring. Plan to have
the Thesis substantially written BEFORE Spring
- Continue to send regular email progress
reports to your committee.
February and March:
- Write thesis section by section and submit
drafts to primary advisor for revision comments.
- Be very careful to cite sources correctly
and incorporate them into your writing so as to
avoid accidental plagiarism.
- Spring Break: Use this time for major
writing and rewriting. You should have a
substantially-complete draft done by end of
- Set a date and time for your defense (in
late April); all three committee members must be
present at the defense. Remember to book a room
that has everything you need (for example,
internet hook-up or a movie-screen).
- You should begin rewriting and revising by
April. Now is the time to pay attention to
clarity of expression and prose style; you may
need to work on major structural changes to your
outline or clarify your logic.
- Schedule a meeting with entire committee so
there will be no unpleasant surprises during the
- Rewrite and revise according to your
advisors' recommendations. Be sure the committee
is in agreement on what they expect from you
during the revision process.
- Submit completed thesis with complete and
accurate bibliography to your committee at least
two weeks before your defense date.
- Late April: DEFENSE must be
scheduled by this time in order to graduate in
- Early May: DEADLINE for
"Recommendation for Thesis Honors" form to
be submitted by Honors Thesis advisor to
the Degree Audit Coordinator in Dowling Hall.
- Your committee may ask you to correct or
rewrite portions of your thesis after the
defense but before you submit it to archives.
- Prepare final document for archives. See
online guide for instructions and
- Enjoy Senior Week! You've earned it!
Back to Senior Thesis Support