Texas Tech University



Selecting a Topic for the Thesis


Researching and writing an Honors thesis is a significant commitment of time and effort, so choose a topic that will keep your interest over two semesters. The finished product is NOT a term paper– this is a much more substantial work that must satisfy the genre expectations of a thesis.



Selecting a Thesis Director and a Second Reader:



You must select a member of the faculty to serve as Thesis Director to help guide you through the process, including topic formation, research, writing, and revision. You must ask the Thesis Director to serve in this role before applying. It is critical to maintain close contact with your Director throughout the thesis process. See How to Select a Thesis Director for tips if you do not have someone in mind already.

You may also select a faculty member to serve as the Second Reader, or a second expert in your field who will review your thesis content – this assignment is optional. With an interdisciplinary thesis, the Second Reader may provide additional content expertise. You will work with your Thesis Director and HONS 3300/4300 Instructor to choose a Second Reader during your first semester in the Thesis Program.

Upon completing the thesis, your Director (and Second Reader, if chosen) will sign the title page, indicating approval of the work.

Potential thesis students must meet with the HONS 3300 Instructor and an Honors Thesis Advisor before submitting an application.



In order to participate in the Honors Thesis Program, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:


  • Honors thesis students must be Honors students in good standing.

  • Honors thesis students must be in their final two semesters prior to graduation to write a thesis.

  • Honors thesis students must have a viable thesis topic and Thesis Director before they submit the application to the Honors Thesis Program.

  • Honors students planning to apply to the Honors Thesis Program should submit the application by the end of the long semester (Fall or Spring) immediately preceding their first semester in the program; thus, the end of their 3rd to last long semester.  Contact Beth Scheckel (beth.scheckel@ttu.edu) to request the link to the thesis application.

Rules and Requirements:


  • Honors thesis students must take HONS 3300 and HONS 4300 in consecutive semesters.

  • Honors thesis students must meet all deadlines by the official semester add date in order to stay in HONS 3300 and 4300.

  • Honors thesis students must meet all HONS 3300 deadlines in order to continue in HONS 4300. Permission to take HONS 4300 will be granted at the Instructor's discretion.

  • Honors thesis students must complete the thesis in two semesters.

  • Permission to take HONS 3300 or HONS 4300 during the summer will be granted rarely on a case-by-case basis.

  • Thesis students must maintain frequent and productive contact with their Thesis Directors.

  • In order to graduate with Highest Honors, each thesis must meet the general standards of publication in the appropriate academic discipline.

  • In order to graduate with Highest Honors, each thesis must have signed approval from the following: 

    • Thesis Director, Second Reader, HONS 3300/4300 Instructor, Honors College Dean.

Conducting Thesis Research:



Honors thesis students may complete an Honors thesis based on their URS research.

Responsible Research: Guidelines of responsible research must be followed (e.g. using reputable sources, citing all sources, and never plagiarizing). You must also follow all safety regulations required by the university, lab, or director. Students conducting research with human subjects must receive approval from the Institutional Review Board through TTU's Human Research Protection Program. Click ­here for more information on responsible conduct of research [link to that section of the Handbook].


Ensuring Original Research:  The thesis must contain original research. You are expected to produce some new insights or interpretations on the topic investigated. The Thesis Director can help you in determining the direction of your research.


Writing for Multiple Audiences: All theses should contain sufficient contextual information so a non-specialist reader will understand the content and significance of the research. Students often use research completed for a scholarly journal article as the foundation, but they must build on this content so that the HONS 3300/4300 Instructor and the Honors College Dean, who are likely not experts in the student's chosen academic field, may properly evaluate the thesis. Those students who wish to submit their theses for publication after graduation can work with their mentors to remove contextual information that is not appropriate for a journal in their field.


Producing a Thesis: Quality is more important than quantity, but the thesis should thoroughly cover your topic and include required elements defining your scholarly documents as a thesis (as opposed to a basic research paper). Keep in mind that an Honors thesis is the outcome of two three-credit, upper-level Honors courses, and the work should reflect that.


Turning in the Thesis: A final copy of the Honors thesis (with title page signed by the Thesis Director and the Second Reader) will be submitted to the HONS 3300/4300 Instructor, who will either sign off on it or send it back to the student for additional revisions. Once the HONS 3300/4300 Instructor approves the thesis, she will send it to the Honors College Dean, who has final say on whether the Thesis is acceptable and has met the College's standard of graduating with Highest Honors. Thesis students must provide an electronic copy of the thesis in Microsoft Word format to the Thesis Coordinator. This copy will be uploaded to the TTU Library's thesis archive.