Senior Thesis

Honors College Guidelines

The exact nature of the thesis will be decided by the student and the proper representative of the major department.  However, the following general guidelines should be observed:

  1. The project should reflect significant individual effort that involves library research, laboratory research, or field research.
  2. The project must conform to accepted scholarly procedure within the discipline of the major field.  The project may be creative, as opposed to derivative, and subject to the discretion and specific prior approval of the department chair involved and the Dean of the Honors College.  However, a creative project must be executed within the framework of accepted scholarly procedure (that is, a student who produces a creative effort should introduce that effort by adequate discussion of the nature of the creative form involved, including an indication of familiarity with other examples of the form).
  3. The project must be done in the area of the student's major, unless specific approval is given by the Dean of the Honors College for a project in the area of the student's minor.
  4. All manuscripts must abide by the specifications detailed in the Guide For Writing The Senior Thesis.

Helpful Tools 

How to Write a Thesis, authored by Charles Lipson, is an excellent start-to-finish guide for a research manuscript in any discipline. We highly recommend you read this literature and adhere to Dr. Lipson's advice throughout the writing process.

Guide For Writing the Senior Thesis: The Southern Miss Honors College has created this guide to help undergraduate students prepare their research manuscripts for approval and publication. It contains the proper format specifications for undergraduate research manuscripts.

IRB and IACUC Applications: Students submit the Institutional Review Board (or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) application after the completion of the prospectus, typically at the beginning of the first semester of 492H. The approval process takes 3-4 weeks. Remember: Approval must be obtained PRIOR to the collection of any data. The official IRB approval letter, as well as any consent forms, surveys, etc. should be included in the last thesis draft and final manuscript.

492H Deadlines (Also available on the Honors Keystone calendar on the Keystone To-Do List.)

Given that the breadth and depth expected of Honors College theses requires time-consuming research and writing, Honors College students should plan far in advance to complete the work to meet submission deadlines. Deadlines are important for pragmatic reasons: The deadlines allow your adviser time to review the manuscript and recommend changes, and you to make the necessary revisions before the final submission to the Honors College. Missing the deadline for initial submission of your thesis draft limits your time for revision, and missing the deadline for final submission endangers your graduation. Accordingly, students more than seven days late meeting thesis-submission deadlines will be required to delay graduation until the following semester. Missing the thesis draft deadlines will result in probation, unless previous status changes require suspension.

Student Schedule
Adviser Schedule


The Road of Yellow Brick 

Stone 1: Progress Report/Thesis Draft Submission

Due: Each semester the student is enrolled in 492H, including the graduating semester.

  • Student submits progress details and thesis draft in a single Word document to adviser. 
    Fall-October 15Spring-March 15Summer-June 15
  • Adviser submits the Progress Report and Thesis Draft to the Honors College.
    Fall-November 1Spring-April 1Summer-July 1

Thesis draft requirements differ depending on the semester of 492H, but we do expect the preliminary pages to be as up to date as possible, the format of the manuscript to follow the Guide for Writing the Senior Thesis, and grammar, spelling, etc. to be 100% correct. These are expected of every manuscript submitted to the College.

Requirements by Semester

  • Progress Report - Each semester of 492H prior to the final: The appropriate amount of written work varies with the area and type of each study during the first semester. Because of this, the progress report can include 1) a full draft-in-progress, 2) a written summary of your progress, 3) an updated prospectus, 4) proof that you've secured your IRB approval, or 5) anything in between that shows you are actively engaged in your research project. 
  • Thesis Draft - Final semester of 492H: During the last (typically graduating) semester of 492H, the thesis draft submitted to the Honors College should be a true representation of your final thesis. This draft should include finished, or very-near complete: 1) preliminary pages 2) main body and 3) closing pages.

Do not forget to submit the IRB/IACUC application. Approval must be obtained PRIOR to the collection of any data. The official IRB approval letter, as well as any consent forms, surveys, etc. should be included in the thesis draft and final manuscript.

Stone 2: Final Thesis Submission

Due: The final semester the student is enrolled in 492H, typically the graduating semester.

  • Student submits completed thesis in a single Word document to adviser. 
    Fall-November 1Spring-April 1Summer-July 1
  • Adviser submits the Thesis Approval and Submission form to the Honors College and department chair.
    Fall-November 15Spring-April 15Summer-July 15

The final thesis should include all suggested revisions, complete preliminary pages, the official IRB approval letter, and all data collection materials (consent forms, surveys, etc.) In addition, the format of the manuscript should follow the Guide for Writing the Senior Thesis, and grammar, spelling, etc. should be 100% correct. 

(Manuscripts not submitted by the final deadline will jeopardize the student's Latin designation.) 

Stone 3: Revised Final Thesis

Due: The final semester the student is enrolled in 492H, typically the graduating semester.

The final thesis will undergo an extensive evaluation by the department chair. After the chair submits his/her decision, the Honors College will read the work. Any comments will be sent to the student and adviser, along with a personalized deadline for the revised, final thesis submission. In consultation with the thesis adviser, the student will incorporate all suggested revisions in the final thesis.

  • Student submits revised, final thesis in a single Word document to adviser. 
    Within seven (7) days of evaluation comments
  • Adviser submits revised, final thesis to, with a courtesy copy to the department chair. The email should include the subject "Revised, Final Thesis" and a note of his/her approval of the updated version.
    See comments email for individualized deadline
  • The Honors College checks the revisions, and sends the student and adviser the official decision, or if necessary, a request for additional corrections.

Interested in a bound copy for personal use? Do not print the manuscript unless official approval has been given by the Honors College. Adhere to the binding requirements listed in the Commonly Asked Questions section below.

Official Thesis Approval

The thesis adviser, department chair and Honors College must approve the manuscript, and the student must earn a traditional letter grade of "B" or higher in the 492H course. Additionally, the thesis must incorporate all suggested revisions, and adhere to the formatting and submission guidelines of the Honors College. Submissions that do not meet all requirements will be rejected by the Honors College.

Stone 4: Thesis Publication

Taxonomy Due: The final semester the student is enrolled in 492H, typically the graduating semester. 

The Aquila Digital Community is an open access digital repository containing all of the scholarly works created by the University of Southern Mississippi faculty, staff, and students. For the digital archive, students are required to complete the Aquila Research Taxonomy form. This is based on the Digital Commons Three-Tiered List of Academic Disciplines and utilized by The Aquila Digital Community to properly index the thesis, and assist in the eventual retrieval of the research by interested parties. Students should view or download the list when completing the Taxonomy. Only the categories seen on the list are available for selection, so please choose each discipline tier directly from the Digital Commons List. If the research taxonomy is not submitted, the final thesis will not be published in Aquila.

After each graduating class is cleared by the Registrar’s Office, the Honors College will archive the final thesis in The Aquila Digital Community if the student has:

    1. addressed all suggested revisions in the final thesis
    2. received final approval from all parties (thesis adviser, department chair, and Honors College)
    3. submitted the Taxonomy form, completed with appropriate information from the Digital Commons List

Students should receive a notification of publication via their Eagles accounts about one month after graduation.

Due to digital archiving, the Honors College no longer requires hard copy submission for Library use. However, students may purchase a bound copy for personal use. Please adhere to the Honors College binding requirements, listed in the Commonly Asked Questions section below. 


Commonly Asked Questions 

What should I expect from my thesis evaluation?
How do I prepare my thesis for digital publication?
What is The Aquila Digital Community?
Am I required to purchase a hard copy of my thesis for the Library?
I'm interested in purchasing a bound copy of my thesis. What are the binding requirements?