Composing and Completing Your Thesis

Stage 4 supports you through the writing of your thesis and the preparation for your defense. This stage of the process typically takes 2-4 terms to complete. You must complete Stage 4 no later than the term you graduate. If you have questions, please contact an HC academic advisor. If your plan has changed, update your Thesis Plan.

To Complete Stage 4: Compose & Complete you must:

Finalize your Thesis Committee

Write and Format the Thesis

Complete the Thesis External Communication Requirement

Schedule Thesis Defense and Notify HC

Prepare and Defend Thesis

☐ Make Final Revisions as Requested by your Mentor and Committee

Submit Your Completed Thesis and Approvals

The HC 408: Stage 4 course can support students in the final phases of the thesis process. The Stage 4 course can be taken any term, but is best taken when a student has finished the research portion of their thesis project and is ready to complete a draft of their written thesis.

Finalize Your Thesis Committee

Your thesis committee will consist of three members: your mentor, plus two additional faculty members (or experts in the appropriate field). If you have yet to determine your committee discuss with your mentor how you will form your committee. The committee must include:

1: Faculty Mentor

2: Oregon State Faculty of professorial rank (assistant professor, associate professor, professor of research/practice/clinical, emeritus professor, senior instructor I, senior instructor II)

3: An expert in the appropriate field.  This may be an additional Oregon State faculty member or an expert in the field outside of Oregon State. 

Write and Format the Thesis

The HC does not provide guidelines for formatting the body of your thesis. Follow the style guide of your discipline to format the text of your thesis. However, there are specific requirements for formatting the title pages, abstract, copyright page, and signature approval page. Refer to our Formatting Your HC Thesis page and templates.

Complete the Thesis External Communication Requirement

A key outcome of the Honors College experience is the ability to effectively communicate your unique disciplinary perspective to audience of non-experts. To demonstrate this ability, all Honors College students are required to complete the Thesis External Communication requirement by Friday 5:00 p.m., Week 10 of your graduation term. You have three options to complete this requirement.

Option 1 - Upload a Thesis Presentation to the Honors College Online Presentation Platform (Symposium)

Available All Terms

You can meet the external communication requirement by presenting your thesis to a general audience through the online platform Symposium. To present via this option you upload a brief (2-5 minute) audio or video presentation about your thesis, with accompanying visual support.  Visual support options may include, but are not limited to: a poster, slide(s), animations, art piece. Your thesis does not need to be defended or submitted before you participate. Symposium is accessible to external audiences.  Register for Symposium and upload your submission to the 2024 Thesis Research Fair

See the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for more detailed step by step instructions to complete this option.


Option 2 - Present at an Honors College Undergraduate Research Showcase

Available Fall and Winter Term Only

Each fall and winter term, the Honors College hosts Undergraduate Research Showcase events online via Zoom for an audience of alumni, family, donors and other external supporters and friends. At each event, up to ten HC students will present three-minute lightning talks about their thesis research for a general audience and then answer questions. Your thesis does not need to be defended or submitted before you participate. Register to participate here. For further details or questions email Bailey Garvin 

Undergraduate Research Showcase dates: 

  • Fall 2024: TBD
  • Winter 2025: TBD

See the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for more detailed step by step instructions to complete this option.


Option 3 - Present your Research at one of the Honors College Thesis Fair Events

Available Spring Term Only

Every spring term, the Honors College hosts the Honors College Thesis Research Fair.  This fair consists of several events, with the below opportunities to complete your External Thesis Communication requirement. 

  • Present at a Thesis Fair Lightning Talk

Students present a three-minute lightning talk about their thesis research for a general audience and then answer questions. Registration to participate in this event closes May 10, however space is limited and can fill before this date.

Thesis Fair 2024 Lighting Talks

  • Wednesday May 15th , 2024 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. on Zoom
  • Friday May 17th, 2024 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. In person on Corvallis Campus (Registration for 5/17 Presenting is Full)


  • Present at the HC Thesis Poster presentation event.

Students display a research poster and attend event to answer questions and discuss their work with attendees. Register here by May 10 to participate in this event. 

Thesis Fair 2024 Poster Presentation Events

  • Friday, May 17th, 2024 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on third floor LInC hallways

See the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for more detailed step by step instructions to complete this option.

Schedule Thesis Defense and Notify HC

To begin scheduling your defense, work with your mentor and committee members to find a two-hour block of time that you and your committee can attend. You may find it helpful to first identify 3-4 options that work for you and your mentor, and then present those options to the committee.

Once you have a date and time for your defense it is vital that you notify the HC. This will prompt the HC to send you the appropriate paperwork for the defense.

Notify the HC of your Scheduled Thesis Defense Here 

HC Thesis Defenses can be public (anyone can attend) or private (only those you invite can attend). The HC does not require a thesis defense to be open to the public or closed, but your major department may require an open defense.

Prepare for and Complete Defense

Once you have revised your draft in consultation with your mentor, prepare an examination copy. The examination copy is a full and completed draft of your thesis. The examination copy should conform to all the formatting requirements identified by your mentor and contain the required HC cover pages, which can be found on the Formatting Your HC Thesis page. Your mentor and committee members will require this examination copy prior to your defense, typically two weeks before the defense.

What to Expect During Your Defense

A Typical Defense Agenda may look like:

  • Opening of Defense: Welcome and introduction of committee and student (Thesis Mentor)
  • Presentation of Thesis (Student)
  • Discussion Sessions with Student (Thesis Mentor Moderates)
    • Thesis mentor moderates the review of thesis and discussions
      • Open Discussion: If your defense is open there will be an open question and answer session with all in attendance
      • Student & Committee Discussion: Question and answer session with thesis mentor and committee
  • Student Excused for Committee Discussion (Thesis Mentor Moderates)
    • In virtual defenses, the student is typically put into an individual breakout room
    • Student Called Back to Session (Thesis Mentor Notifies) 
    • Announcement of Defense Results (Thesis Mentor Moderates)
      • Upon conclusion of the examination portion of the defense, the thesis committee will recommend either: pass, fail, or recess the examination until a later date. Alternatively, the committee may recommend a conditional pass if relatively minor modifications to the thesis or project are necessary
  • Review of any necessary changes, corrections and feedback. Confirm if an embargo is needed (patent/intellectual property or pending publication) for upload.
Make Final Revisions As Requested By Your Mentor and Committee

Please note that nearly every thesis needs revision after the defense. If your thesis mentor or committee have requested any revisions, update the examination copy with those edits to create your final thesis document.

Submit PDF of Final Thesis to the Oregon State University Scholars Archive

Follow the Undergraduate Thesis Submission instructions to submit the PDF copy of your thesis, without the signatures, electronically to ScholarsArchive@OSU. Refer to ScholarsArchive@OSU research guide if you need assistance logging in or making changes to your submission. Your thesis submission and signatures are due at the latest the Friday of week 10 of the term you are graduating. These are absolute deadlines; you will not graduate with the Honors Baccalaureate diploma without submitting a completed thesis. If you are unable to submit your thesis by this deadline, you must immediately contact an HC academic advisor to discuss your options.

The Deadline for the thesis materials and signatures to be approved is no later than 5pm on Friday of week 10 of the graduating term.

Refer to the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for tips, checklists, and FAQs on thesis submission and approval. 

Final Signatures for Thesis Approval

Shortly before your scheduled defense date, the HC Advising Office Coordinator will send you the HC Thesis Submission Approval Form through DocuSign. Once you’ve signed it (online), the form will go to your committee and the HC Dean for signature. All signatures must be completed through DocuSign by the latest 5 p.m. on Friday of Week 10 of the term you are graduating. If you have any non-Oregon State affiliated committee members, sending the email address(es) to the HC Advising Office Coordinator before your defense will reduce the time needed to obtain signatures after your defense. Refer to the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for additional information and support related to thesis submission and graduation clearance.

Submit a Bound Copy to The Honors College Thesis Library (Optional)

For those who wish to submit their thesis to the Honors College thesis library, follow the HC Bound Thesis Printing Specifications for specific requirements for printing and binding the thesis. You can submit your thesis to be printed through this Printing and Mailing webform.