The honors thesis defense is an oral examination that involves a student giving a 30-minute presentation to a committee of faculty that will then evaluate the quality of the thesis work and of the student's understanding of his or her thesis work. The committee will then vote on whether the student has obtained honors and, if so, award honors or high honors.
The defense must be held no later than the last day for undergraduate classes during the spring semester. A final version of the thesis must be submitted to the DUS in PDF format before the end of the examination period of that same semester.
The thesis defense will last no longer than two hours. The student should plan on speaking for no longer than 30 minutes (without interruptions), which should correspond to no more than 18 presentation slides (this is a strict limit). The remaining time will involve the committee asking the student questions about the thesis and for discussion (in the student's absence) about whether to grant honors and what kind.
The student is strongly recommended to practice his or her thesis presentation at least once with the thesis advisor before the actual defense. The student should also share a draft of the thesis, especially the thesis abstract, with the Committee members many weeks before the defense so that the Committee can provide early feedback to the student and to the student's advisor. This will help to to make sure that the writing and defense of the thesis all goes smoothly.
It is the responsibility of the student to make all
arrangements for the defense in consultation with the faculty
advisor. These responsibilities include: