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:

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.

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

Formerly this task was completed by the thesis poster requirement. The HC has added additional opportunities to complete this requirement.

A key outcome of the Honors College experience is the ability to effectively communicate your unique disciplinary perspective to inform the learning of others. This is one of the most significant transferable skills gained in Honors College classes, community events and through the thesis. To demonstrate this ability, all Honors College students are required, as a part of Stage 4 of the thesis process, to present their thesis research to an audience of non-experts. Presentations will remain accessible to students after graduation. Register here

Option 1 - Participate in an Honors College Virtual or In-Person Undergraduate Research Showcase

Each term, the Honors College hosts virtual Undergraduate Research Showcase events over 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. Research showcase presentations will be recorded (unless otherwise directed by students) and posted on Symposium (see below). Register here . Email Bailey Garvin for more details. 

Virtual Undergraduate Research Showcase dates: 

Fall 2022: Thursday November 10th, 2022 from 5:00 - 6:30pm

Winter 2023: Thursday February 23rd, 2023 from 5:00 - 6:30pm

Spring 2023: Wednesday May 17th, 2023 from 5:00 - 6:30pm

Option 2 - Upload a Thesis Presentation to Symposium

Symposium is an online resource accessible to external audiences, and Honors College students can meet the external communication requirement by recording a brief presentation about their thesis, with accompanying visual support (e.g. a poster PDF, slides, a brief video or animation). Your thesis does not need to be defended or submitted before you participate. 2023 Thesis Research Submission Form  register by June 9th

Option 3 - Present your Research to the Public at the In-person Honors College Thesis Fair

This option is only available in the Spring term but any student can participate. Honors College Thesis Research Poster Fair will be Friday May 19th, 2023 from 1-3pm. Register here by May 12th to allow for poster printing.  Your thesis does not need to be defended or submitted before you participate.

Refer to the HC Academic Advising Canvas page for tips and resources in preparing your materials for the Thesis External Communication Requirement.

Students must participate in a research showcase, upload a presentation to Symposium or participate in the HC thesis Fair in advance of the end of week 10 of their graduation term in order to satisfy the Honor College thesis requirement. All presentations will remain accessible to students after graduation. Students who participate in a research showcase or thesis fair are also welcome to submit a presentation to Symposium or vice versa. 

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

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 of the Formatting Your HC Thesis page. You must provide your examination copy to each committee member and your mentor at least ten days before your 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.

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 [email protected]. Refer to [email protected] 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.

Spring 2023 Graduates Deadline: Friday, June 9th, 2023, by 5:00 p.m.

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 Self-Assessment and Committee Member Surveys (Optional)

You will be emailed a link to a survey after you alert us of your thesis defense. You and each of your committee members should fill out the survey. You need to email your mentor and each committee member the link, as they need to fill their survey out individually. This is an anonymous survey and is solely intended to gather data. The survey is not attached to any one person.

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. Please follow these guidelines precisely as an improperly produced thesis will require reprinting and rebinding. You can submit your thesis to be printed through this Printing and Mailing webform.