Challenge by Choice: The Honors Thesis Project

What is the Honors Thesis Project?

The Honors Thesis Project allows students to devote time, energy, and imagination to independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.  This can be a passion project.  Something you have always wanted to do.  This is also an important and unique opportunity to pursue individual research interests and to really dig into a topic and understand it deeply. It is a chance to create knowledge and add to what we know (and don’t know) about a topic.  And finally, it can serve as a splendid example of your work, creativity, and potential, especially if you are interested in going to graduate school or exploring other post-college opportunities. Every honors student should take advantage of this program. 

The Keys to A Successful Honors Thesis Project

Benefits of the Project

The benefits of completing an Honors Thesis Project start with getting to work on a project that you are excited about, really excited about.  But they also include upper-level honors credit.  Even more important, the thesis will enhance your preparation for graduate school and professional studies.  It is a good line on your resume and definitely something you can talk about during job interviews.  Plus, all projects are listed in the Temple University Card Catalog – forever. That means you can look yourself up on the Temple Library Webpage and show your friends what you have done.   

Required Courses:

  1. HNRS 4901: Creating Knowledge: Honors Thesis Project Design (one credit) - This is a one-credit pass/fail class that will help you to develop your thesis topic. To be taken spring semester of Junior Year. (If students are studying abroad and cannot take this class, exceptions will be made.)
  2. HNRS 4999: Honors Thesis (two credits) - This is an asynchronous course to give you the time and space to write up your research results.  To be completed fall semester of Senior Year.

Together these two classes count for three credits and an upper-level Honors Credit.


Timeline & Process

Below is a timeline of the 3-semester process with both academic and administrative goals for each semester. For most students, this process starts in spring of their junior year. For students graduating early or who are engaged in study abroad, the timeline can be amended, please contact Bryant Simon, University Honors Academic Chair, at


Academic Goals

First Year in Honors

Buy a notebook. Keep track of the ideas and topics that interest you. Write them down in your notebook. Ask your professors about your ideas. Ask them about their research and about doing undergraduate research.

Second Year in Honors

Circle the ideas in your notebook that interest you the most. Start to narrow down your interests. Search for research in that area. What has been written about the topic? Keep talking to your professors. Keep sharpening your ideas.

Spring Semester - Junior Year

Enroll in Honors 4901, and bring your ideas to class. Get to know your subject area librarian!  Develop a clear thesis topic and research question. Choose an advisor. Build a bibliography, and a research plan. End the semester with a research proposal. Find a lab. Apply for research funding, including the Diamond Research Scholars Award and the Caras Award.

Summer - Junior/Senior Year

Research. Read. Research. Read. And do more research. Begin to carefully review the literature for your project. Find out where your research sits among what is currently available about your topic. Do more research.

Fall Semester - Senior Year

Enroll in Honors 4999. Finish a draft of your thesis by April 1. Identify a second reader. Schedule your thesis defense by May 1.

Spring Semester - Senior Year

Present your work at the Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity. Attend the Honors Celebration of Undergraduate Research.