Some Basic Decisions about the Duration of the Thesis

Are you going to plan a project that can be completed in one semester or in more than one semester? In some departments, this decision will already be made for you based on what the department knows by experience to be the best choice for its students. If your department leaves the option to you and your director, you have some choices. The generic Honors College thesis course (HNRC 483) gives you great flexibility. You can enroll in this course multiple times for up to six total credits. The most frequently chosen model is two semesters of thesis work at 3sh each, but other arrangements are possible. You can even design a plan that spreads the 6sh over three semesters—perhaps 1sh for design, 3sh for research, and 2sh for writing—or, perhaps a 2sh-2sh-2sh model.

Departments that follow the standard 3sh-3sh model generally expect you to use part of the first semester to do background reading, narrow your topic, and write a sharply defined thesis proposal. This leaves a semester or even as much as a semester and a half for doing research, writing, and revising. If you opt for a one-semester thesis (3sh), you obviously are under more time constraints, and you will need to have a good background and a sharply focused plan that allows you to leap right into the research.

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