Senior Honors Thesis

The Thesis Honors Program allows Tufts seniors to pursue a year-long independent program of study, to delve into a focused area of research within your major, and to produce an outcome that demonstrates exceptional undergraduate achievement. The senior honors thesis is a capstone experience for undergraduates in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree program. Students may pursue only one Senior Honors Thesis per bachelor degree; that is, students who have two or three majors may not pursue two or three Honors Theses. Only students in five-year combined degree programs, such as BA/BFA, can pursue one senior thesis for the BFA degree in Studio Art and a Honors Thesis for one major in the BA degree, preferably in years four and five of the combined-degree program.

Overview of the Senior Honors Thesis at Tufts

The senior honors thesis takes the form of an extensive research-based project culminating in a scholarly monograph (or an artistic or technical product). The honors thesis:

  • Spans two consecutive semesters during your senior year.
  • Is worth 8 Semester-hour units (SHUs) (4 SHUs per semester; usually same letter grade for both semesters) in the School of Arts and Sciences. In the School of Engineering, it is worth 6 SHUs (3 SHUs per semester; usually same letter grade for both semesters).
  • Culminates in a defense.
  • Is overseen by a faculty committee of at least two people (one of whom must be a full-time faculty member in your major).
  • Will be specially formatted and archived in Tufts Digital Collections and Archives.
  • May be worthy of Thesis Honors.

Typically, the honors thesis takes the form of independent research within your major (or in one of your majors) and results in a scholarly monograph that incorporates extensive research, critical analysis, and a sustained argument centered on a defined research question or hypothesis. Some majors will encourage or permit less traditional theses that result in the creation of a short documentary film, translated book, collection of poems, novella, play, artistic exhibit, musical composition, or application of technology. However, even less traditional theses require substantial scholarly research and writing.

Eligibility Criteria

Students who wish to pursue an honors thesis must:

  • Be a senior.
  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Have been on the Dean’s List at least twice before the senior year. There is a waiver process for transfer students and others who have not met this criterion.
  • Meet departmental criteria for the major or program in which you will pursue the honors thesis. Some majors stipulate prerequisite coursework, a GPA threshold, a written proposal submitted during your junior year, or participation in a senior seminar.
  • Have approval of your major department chair or program director (indicated by a signature on your Honors Thesis Candidate Form.