Great minds think a lot.

As an Honors College student seeking an honors degree, your thesis is the chance for you to showcase your intellectual and creative talents. In many ways, your thesis will represent the culmination of your undergraduate experience at Oregon State University, drawing on all of the skills, knowledge, and insights you’ve acquired. Choose your own subject and think critically about social, creative, and scientific issues. Honors thesis topics range from scientific research to artistic creations to service projects, so there's room for you to explore the subject that excites you the most, even if it isn't in your major.

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don't worry. The HC provides you with a useful road map to guide you through each phase as you complete your thesis. Using Thesis Success in Stages (TheSIS) as your guide, you'll break the process down into smaller pieces with clear benchmarks to make your thesis journey much more manageable. These stages are called START, LEARN, UNDERTAKE, and GRADUATE.

Take comfort in knowing that you don't have to go it alone. It's OK to ask for help. In fact, we encourage it. Optional thesis workshops are available to help you at every stage of the process, and you'll be guided by a faculty team that's pulling for your success.


“The [honors college] thesis was the single most valuable experience of my collegiate career. It led me to my career choice and helped shape my plans for the future.”

-Andrea Hill, Honors College class of 2002

Stage One - START

To be completed within the first three terms of joining the HC

START, the first stage, involves learning about the thesis requirement and mapping out personalized goals.  START offers a framework for thinking about the thesis and possible paths to completion. Complete START during your first year in the HC. If you are transferring into the HC, you should complete START during your first term or as soon as possible. For more information, including specific tasks within START, visit the START page.


Stage Two - LEARN

To be completed as indicated on your TheSIS map on file in the HC

The second stage, LEARN, requires you to explore research at OSU by examining previous thesis work and speaking with OSU faculty. For information about LEARN, visit the LEARN page.


Stage Three - UNDERTAKE

To be completed as indicated on your TheSIS map on file in the HC

In UNDERTAKE, the third stage, you will choose a mentor and work with that mentor to select a topic, develop a research plan, and complete a formal thesis proposal. For more information, including specific tasks within UNDERTAKE, visit the UNDERTAKE page.


Stage Four - GRADUATE

To be completed as indicated on your TheSIS map on file in the HC

The final stage of TheSIS, GRADUATE, supports you in the process of actually writing the thesis, including drafting and revising chapters, designing a poster, planning the thesis defense and submitting your approved, bound thesis. For details about GRADUATE, visit the GRADUATE page.