- Thesis & Research
- Scholarships & Funding
Stage 2 is designed to help you think about the steps involved in developing a thesis topic and selecting a mentor. In this stage you begin to explore possible thesis topics and connect with potential thesis mentors. You are likely to consider:
You have two options to complete Stage 2. Whichever option you choose, Stage 2 lays the groundwork. You are encouraged to complete Stage 2 early in your HC career but at least within the first six terms of enrolling in the HC. You will receive occasional reminders to complete Stage 2 until you have done so. If you have questions, please contact your HC academic advisor.
If your plan has changed and you need to update your Thesis Map, see the Thesis Map update.
Register for HC 408 Stage 2: Explore & Build
Complete Stage 2: Explore & Build tasks independently.
Choose a completed HC thesis through the noted resources. If you prefer to view printed copies in the HC thesis library, visit the HC advising office. Read carefully the introduction and conclusion/results sections, and scan the rest of the thesis. Then report on the thesis you reviewed.
Student-faculty mixers are excellent opportunities to connect with faculty members, learn about their research, and potentially get involved in projects that could inform your own thesis. Don’t worry if you aren’t ready to begin research or aren’t sure about your interests; these events are intended to help you explore opportunities and make connections. Do approach the mixer seriously: Dress in attire you are comfortable making a first impression with and be prepared to discuss your interests and/or academic background. Some faculty members may even ask for a resume.
This task will help support you in the process of choosing a mentor and help you to think about different mentoring styles. Finding a mentor whose expectations and style match your needs is one of the most important factors in a positive and successful thesis experience, and the interview is an opportunity to begin thinking about how a mentor can best support your thesis work. Assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and senior instructors who are tenure-track faculty at OSU are eligible to be thesis mentors. Non-tenured faculty must be approved by petition to the HC. It is important to ask your potential mentor about their tenure-track status. For other tips, see our Finding a Mentor page.
To set up an interview, contact the faculty member by email to request a 30-minute meeting. Express your interest in the potential mentor’s research. Remember when you approach potential mentors for interviews, you are only asking for a meeting. Neither of you should feel obligated to commit to a mentoring arrangement just yet. In fact, you are encouraged to repeat the interview process with several faculty members to ensure a good match.
Keep in mind how busy these professionals are. Be friendly, flexible, appreciative in all communications, and always respectful of his or her time constraints. The general protocol is to wait one week for a response to your email, then send a follow up email; if email is unsuccessful, attempt to make phone contact, then move on to other faculty members.
To provide you with basic ethics training you must complete CITI training, regardless of if you plan to work with human or animals subjects. The training will help you understand some basic ethics principles and make you more aware of the situation if your future project does involve human or animal subjects.
Research institutions like OSU have oversight committees on campus to maintain vigilance over all research activity. In most cases, this includes ethics training prior to participating in research. At Oregon State that office is the Institutional Research Board or (IRB). This general training is helpful and required but does not give you IRB approval for future projects. Later, when you have a mentor and are developing a project, you and your mentor should discuss if your projects requires further training or IRB applications.
To complete the training:
“I had to work alone on my project a majority of the time because I went into the lab at odd hours to be able to keep my class and work schedule going. My mentor adjusted her schedule…whenever I was available. She really went above and beyond all my expectations.”
-Whitney Humphrey, Honors College Class of 2010