Composing and Completing Your Thesis

Stage 4 supports you through writing your thesis and preparing for your defense. In this stage you may ask:

  • What revisions to my work will be needed?
  • What standard does my field use in publishing work?
  • What will the final report of my project look like?
  • How will I present my work?

This stage of the process typically takes two to four 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 Map.


Register for HC 408 Thesis: Stage 4 - Compose & Complete



Complete Stage 4: Compose & Complete tasks independently

Write and Format the Thesis

Create and Submit Thesis poster

Participate in the Honors College Thesis Research Conference (formerly HC Thesis Fair) 

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.


Begin by talking with your mentor about the writing process.  You may begin by writing a rough draft that brings the sections of your project together and allows your mentor to see your progress as well as provide feedback. The content of the rough draft and how many revisions are to be made are determined by you and your mentor.


It is critical during the drafting process to give yourself plenty of time to follow recommended writing techniques, including “cool-downs” and targeted proofreading.

  • Cool-down: disengaging from a draft for a few days or weeks, to help you mentally transition from composing to editing. This break makes it easier to spot and correct weaknesses
  • Targeted proofreading: editing your work in layers, focusing attention on one aspect of revision at a time. In the first round, read to edit content only; in the next round, organization only; in the next, formatting only; and in the final round, edit for grammar and mechanics

Throughout the process, work with your mentor to determine what revisions need to be made for the final draft of the thesis. You can utilize the OSU Writing Center for additional help. Schedule a Writing Center appointment.


Create and Submit Thesis Poster
  1. Create Poster.
    1. All graduates are required to prepare a poster and a brief audio/video for public presentation. Among other important requirements, the poster must:
      1. display your name, your mentor’s name, and the project title
      2. be of professional caliber, while also communicating clearly to a layperson
      3. layout should be 36 inches tall x 48 inches wide as if it were to be printed 
    2. Review the Student Multimedia Services page for poster templates, official logos, poster tips. Use the video tutorial for design assistance. The Student Multimedia Service team provides free personal design consultation. Photos from previous Thesis Fair events can also be found on the HC photo gallery and 2021 Thesis Fair on Symposium
  2. Submit Poster to HC:
  3. Create brief video/audio research presentation
    1. Your video should be a brief explanation of your research, findings and to answer common questions
    2. The video can be of you presenting about your thesis or your poster as the visual and audio in the background
    3. It should be no more than 5 minutes
    4. For examples or inspiration check out the 2021 Thesis Fair on Symposium
    5. To be able to submit the audio/video presentation to the HC you will need to upload it to YouTube.  Be sure to make it "Unlisted"
  4. Submit your poster and audio/video presentation to the Symposium 2022 Thesis Fair website.
  5. If you are a Spring 2022 graduate you will need to submit your poster and audio/video presentation by May 16th, 2022. If you are not a Spring 2022 graduate but would like to participate in the Thesis Research Conference (information below) you must also submit your poster and audio/video presentation by May 16th, 2022.

Note: Your thesis does not need to be defended or submitted before you create and submit your poster. You may create a poster and presentation for an in-progress thesis.


Participate in Honors College Thesis Research Conference

The Honors College Thesis Research Conference (formally HC Thesis Fair) is an opportunity to display and/or present your work to the general public. 

The Spring 2022 Thesis Research Conference provides several ways to present your work. 

  1. Required for all students: Online thesis poster and audio/video presentations through the Symposium 2022 Thesis Fair website. Access to online posters and presentations begin on May 16th, 2022.
  2. Optional Opportunities: In-person HC Thesis Research Conference will be May 19th & 20th. Sign up by 8am on 5/16
    1. Give a brief lighting talk about your research on Thursday May 19th 4- 5:30pm or Friday May 20th 11am -12:30pm. 
    2. Informally talk about your research while displaying your research poster. On Friday May 20th from 1-3pm in halls of 2nd and 3rd floors of LINC.
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.


HC thesis defenses can be virtual (conducted via Zoom) or in-person on campus. If defending virtually, the mentor should schedule and host the Zoom meeting so that they can create a breakout room where the student will “go” during the portion of the defense when the committee confers.  You and the mentor can use the Zoom link to invite the committee and if you choose friends, family, and other guests.  To avoid unwanted complications don’t share the link on social media. 


Prepare for and Complete Defense

Once you have revised your draft in consultation with your mentor, prepare an examination copy. The examination copy should conform to all the formatting requirements of the Formatting Your HC Thesis page and should be sent to each committee member 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)
    • Typically in virtual defenses the student is 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 of course positive feedback. Confirm if an embargo is needed (patent/intellectual property or pending publication) for upload 
Final Steps

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.


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 2022 Graduates Deadline: Friday, June 3rd BY 5:00 p.m.


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 5PM on Friday of Week 10 of the term you are graduating. If you have any non-OSU affiliated committee members, sending the email address(es) to the HC Advising Office Coordinator before your defense will reduce the time needed for signature after your defense. 


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


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.