Thesis Director Responsibilities


Thank you for agreeing to serve as a thesis director! Without you, this experience would not be possible for your mentee. The thesis director, much like a master's advisor, is the ultimate agent of quality control for the technical aspects of the thesis. Your responsibilities are straightforward and are as follows:

  • Help the student determine an appropriate and achievable topic for their defense. The director will acknowledge the selection of an approved topic on the Honors Thesis Proposal form, completed by the student.
  • Serve as instructor of record for the thesis course (HON 4093) if needed.
  • Ensure that research ethics and university rules are adhered to. This includes ensuring that any required IRB or IACUC approval is obtained and that any necessary ethics trainings are completed by the student (e.g., human subjects training). For more information, please visit the Office of Research Compliance & Security. If first person interviews or writing are used in the student's thesis, written permission for use must be obtained.
  • Assist in the selection of another subject matter specialist and a Shackouls Honors College representative to serve on the thesis committee.
  • Provide mentorship during the two semesters that the student is working on their thesis, including regular meetings and providing feedback on at least one full draft of the student’s thesis prior to the defense. An important part of student research becoming an Honors Thesis is attending to Context and Communication.
  • Host the student’s thesis defense and oversee revisions.

Honors Thesis Defense

The thesis director will run the defense during Honors Thesis Week, which will be determined for each spring and fall term. In justified cases, defenses may be scheduled at other times. The student is responsible for communicating with all committee members and scheduling their defense at a time that works for everyone.

Upcoming Thesis Weeks:

Fall 2023: November 27th - November 30th

Spring 2024: April 18th – May 1st

Typical Format:

  • A 90-minute space will be allocated for the defense in Griffis or Nunnelee Hall, though the total time rarely exceeds 75 minutes.
  • There will be a public presentation of the thesis followed by questions from the public.
  • All non-committee members will then leave for questioning of the student by the committee.
  • The student will be sent from the room while the committee deliberates and will then be informed of the committee’s decision.
  • The thesis director will complete and submit the Report of Completion. This form will be distributed to all thesis directors one week prior to the start of Honors Thesis Week.


For more detailed information about the Honors Thesis, please refer to the Honors Thesis Handbook.

If you have any questions regarding the Honors Thesis, please contact the Associate Dean of Shackouls Honors College and Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Anastasia Elder, at or 662-325-8503.