Honors Thesis

An honors thesis, while required for all students in the Cursus Honorum and Presidential/Provost Scholars, is an option for all honors students. Writing an honors thesis affords the student an opportunity to explore in detail a topic of interest in his or her major. The honors thesis also helps prepare the student for the rigors and expectations of graduate and professional school.

The honors thesis should be of the same cloth as a master’s thesis while not requiring quite the complexity or length. What is required, that may be lacking in a master’s thesis, is placing the student’s work in context. Why is there interest in the topic? Where does it fit within the student’s field intellectually and historically? Furthermore, the student needs to have an introductory chapter explaining his or her thesis to the non-expert and a concluding chapter explaining what the accomplishment of the thesis was to the non-expert. This will place the honors thesis somewhere between a major undergraduate research paper and a master’s thesis in terms of both quality and quantity of work on the technical side and a deeper amount of work allowing the non-expert to understand the place and meaning of the work.

Find a more detailed description of an honors thesis in The Honors Thesis: Context and Communication. Standards for graduate theses at Mississippi State University may be found here.

Honors Thesis Guidelines and FAQs


Formal Requirements

Those students intending to graduate as an Honors College Scholar should, at the beginning of their junior year, identify a faculty mentor and a thesis topic. The student may register for Honors Thesis credit during their junior and/or senior years, depending on the length and complexity of the research project.

Honors Thesis Form

The student should, of course, have a thesis advisor who approves the topic of the thesis and provides close supervision of the work. Furthermore, the student is expected to defend his or her thesis before a committee consisting of the thesis advisor, another scholar of faculty rank in the field of the thesis topic, and a member of the Honors College staff. The committee should be selected by the student and formed before the student starts working. The student should sign up for the Honors Thesis class, HON 4093, while writing the thesis.


Deadlines & Thesis Week

It is our goal to have most – if not all – defenses during Thesis Week, which will be held in April. For students defending in the fall semester, Thesis Week will be held in November. If the dates scheduled are not possible, the student should contact the Associate Dean, Dr. Anastasia Elder, at aelder@honors.msstate.edu about other possible dates.

The Shackouls Honors College considers completion of an honors thesis an important milestone for our students and is pleased to announce that Fall 2021 Honor Thesis Week will be held November 15-19.

Defenses will be held in person in Griffis Hall, and your defense must be scheduled by November 1.

Scheduling your Defense
You are responsible for contacting your thesis committee members and choosing a date and time that works for all members prior to scheduling your defense on this calendar.

You must schedule your Fall 2021 Honors thesis date online by November 1, 2021 through the ScheduleOnce portal below.

View Honors faculty who can serve as your Honors committee member for Spring 2021.

Questions about scheduling can be directed to the Honors College Main Office at 662-325-2522 or mainoffice@honors.msstate.edu.

The student is expected to provide a draft of the thesis to his or her committee members with sufficient time to read it before the defense, typically 1-2 weeks.

Upon Completion
We request that Honors College committee members email Katelyn Wright at kwright@honors.msstate.edu once the defense meeting has been successfully completed.

Before the end of the semester, the student must email a pdf file of the thesis including the signed signature page to mainoffice@honors.msstate.edu.