What is an Honors Thesis?
An honors thesis is an in-depth, independent project that allows students to explore a topic that they are passionate under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. The PitE Honors Program is a three semester sequence starting in the winter term of a PitE student's junior year. Students are guided through the research process as they work to answer a research question that they have formulated themselves, often through data collection and analysis.
Other types of scholarship, for example environmental art, poetry, and dance, can also be selected for the honors thesis project, provided that the topic is pre-approved by the PitE honors thesis seminar instructor.
Winter semester Junior Year: Environ 399 Honors Thesis Seminar Course
Spring/Summer Junior Year: Students Start to conduct research with PitE faculty member.
Fall and Winter Semesters Senior Year: Continue with research, data analysis, and writing of thesis. Students must complete 6 credits of Environ 499 Honors Thesis Research between the two semesters.
Why Pursue an Honors Thesis?
An honors thesis provides students with the invaluable experience of creating a substantial scholarly project from start to finish. Completion of an honors thesis is evidence of a student’s determination, skills, and intelligence that showcases their work to academics and potential employers. As an expert on their topic, students can use their knowledge as a foundation of expertise to pursue their future interests.
Additionally, producing an Honors thesis will allow a student to graduate PitE with Honors. Recognized on the student’s diploma and transcript, their project will be designated either “with Honors," "with High Honors," or "with Highest Honors,” based upon a faculty and reader evaluation of the honors thesis.
How to Get Started
Students should find a topic that they are passionate about and a faculty advisor with similar interests who is willing to serve as their mentor throughout the project.
Prospective Honors Program students should focus on maintaining a grade point average of 3.50 or better, since it is a requirement to graduating with Honors. However, students below a 3.50 GPA may apply to do an honors thesis. PitE Honors Thesis information sessions are held in October for PitE students interested in pursing this path. Students may also schedule an advising appointment with Jason Duvall or Jaime Langdon to discuss options.
Honors Thesis Presentation
On the winter term study day, PitE hosts the PitE Honors Symposium where graduating seniors present their work to their peers, advisors, family, and friends. Students interested in completing an honors thesis are welcome to attend this event.