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Thesis Development Virtual Workshop

Our online Thesis development videos are the best way to officially kick off your project, AND they are required viewing!

By the time you make your way through this playlist and answer the little quiz questions, you should have a pretty good idea as to what the general topic of your project is, even if it needs to be narrowed down or focused a bit with your advisor.  This will:

  • show you how to leverage your Honors thesis in the future, regardless of your intended career path
  • walk through the process of developing and completing your thesis in detail
  • provide more information on funding your work and walk through examples of funded theses

Student Feedback about the Thesis

Harrison Avigdo at Honors Convocation“Wanted to drop you a quick note regarding the relevancy of the Honors Thesis we worked on last year. I remember you mentioning whether I would ever bring up or share my project in a potential job interview. Well, that has now come full circle as I used it in my interview recently with the NBA and just found out I was offered the position. The role focuses around USA Basketball and Global Business Ops with direct ties to the research in that project. Just wanted to share that sticking that project out really paid off!” - Harrison Avigdor ('17)

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Register for HNR 309: Thesis Planning Seminar

What is HNR 309?

Butters and students in the Honors SuiteThe HNR 309 seminar is a 1 credit pass/fail seminar designed to help you organize the personal resources necessary for successful completion of the thesis, to develop your project development and implementation skills, and to give you a support network (the instructor and your class) for you during your project. HNR 309 is not required, and there are other ways to get started on your thesis; this is one social and supportive path to thesis success.

Student Feedback about HNR 309

"I thought it was particularly helpful to have discussions each week and hear some of the ideas of my peers. I also found it helpful taking the course as a sophomore since I can now focus more on taking courses for the next two years that will allow me to leverage my capstone. I also liked the small class size, which I believe helped to facilitate a classroom community."

"This class was extremely helpful with narrowing down my topic and finding resources to assist with my research. I also learned a lot more about funding and the support that honors provides to students working on their capstone."

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Submit your Proposal

The Proposal Process

Once you have settled on a topic and rough scope of work with your advisor, you will submit the proposal for your project to Honors.  Your submission will be sent to your advisor for final approval, and they will also confirm that they agree to be your thesis advisor.  During the course of your project, your thesis advisor can contact us for support, and we will reach out to your advisor during your senior year to make sure you are on track.

The Proposal Form

Below is a guide detailing the expectations for your thesis proposal.  The proposal form will ask you to complete the following sections, so be ready with your content when you fill out the form. You will have the option of saving and resuming your proposal form, but keeping a backup copy of your proposal contents is never a bad idea.

  I. Working title of your project

  II. Introduction

In a paragraph or two, describe your primary research questions and their purpose.

  III. Background and Context

In a paragraph or two, describe what led you to your primary research questions and their purpose. Why is your question important, and where does it fit into the existing field? This is a place to talk about how preexisting scholarship or professional/creative work addresses—or should better address—your subject.

  IV. References/Resources

Include a list of scholarly materials, organizations, people, or other resources you have or will consult.

  V.Time Line

Present a schedule of the work to be completed, with start and finish dates. Include all thesis, revising, and advising deadlines, as well as any relevant performance and/or exhibition dates (these   may be tentative). Be sure to take into account time spent for study abroad and internships. More   detail here will help you stay on course.

  Please Note:

Supporting graduate or advanced upper-division coursework: we strongly recommend you select   appropriate graduate or upper-division courses in your major that will support your thesis;   graduate courses in particular can guide you through much of your research. Work with your thesis advisor to select appropriate courses.

If you would like assistance in completing this document, or would like guidance in thinking more   broadly about your thesis, your Honors thesis Coordinator is available to help you. Call 443-  2759 or email your thesis coordinator to make an appointment.

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Make sure you are on track if you are doing a Distinction Program

Many departments in A&S offer "Distinction" programs which guide you through a senior thesis. In some cases, that thesis will be your Honors thesis; in other cases your Distinction project will serve as the basis of your Honors thesis. You can search the our archives database to compare the guidelines of your Distinction project with a completed thesis in your field. Some Distinction programs include a research seminar with fellow students to help you get started.

No two Distinction programs are alike, so find out if your major offers one and check it out. Distinction programs provide a great way to complete a thesis , and you graduate both with "Distinction" in the major and with Renée Crown University Honors.  Browse our list of Distinction programs at Syracuse below.

A&S students whose major offers a "distinction" program should discuss this option with their thesis coordinator and faculty advisor in their major.

If you are completing a distinction program, you should register for the thesis (499) course referenced in the chart below.

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Develop your research skills

Abby Kasowitz-Scheer is the Honors reference librarian. She has helped many thesis authors find professional journals full of useful content as well as examples of the formats professional writing in your subject area.

Most research topics exist within a complex web of knowledge. Abby can help you follow the most significant strands connected to your primary topic. If you don't know what books and journals in other academic fields might be of use to you, Abby will help you track them down. During the collection phase of your thesis journey, Abby is an invaluable member of your support team! She maintains a great subject guide to your thesis project just for Honors students.  You should use this resource, and make sure you get in touch with Abby to learn about services the library offers.  Go to the SU Library Subject Guide for Honors Students

Alumni who have completed Honors research focused theses

Jessica Toothaker

Jessica Toothaker




  • Working in the Pepling lab, Jessica explored early egg (oocyte) loss in female mice.
  • She ran experiments that allowed her to visualize and compare oocyte characteristics between wild type and mutant mice at different ages.
  • She was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship for her research work and is now working towards her Ph.D.

Greg Walsh

Greg Walsh

  • Greg used multi-messenger astronomy to probe an astrophysical event known as a Fast Radio Burst, an energetic, millisecond radio pulse of extragalactic origins.
  • Beginning a Ph.D. program to continue his study of physics
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Get help with writing your Thesis

Rae Ann Meriwether in a blue print sleeveless top smiling in front of a white birch treeDid you know that the Honors Program has our own professional writing consultant who can help you with all aspects of your writing? Meet Rae Ann Meriwether, an instructor and consultant in the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric and Composition.  Rae Ann is passionate about working with student writers and can help with all facets of the writing process, as well as different writing situations.

From brainstorming and organizing ideas to producing a polished draft, Rae Ann is here to help.  She can assist you with any writing, such as short assignments, essays, scholarship/grad school applications, and especially your thesis. Rae Ann is a skilled editor and teacher. She will help you to produce a stronger paper and become a better writer. She will be setting up regular office hours in the Honors suite for fall semester, and we'll post those here. Also feel free to email her at