Dr. Elizabeth Rich
SVSUScience East 164
These are the answers to frequently asked questions about courses, theses, and faculty. It makes sense to print them out and refer to them as needed.
1) How many courses do I have to take in the Honors Program?
Answer: Students take one Honors Program course each year. The Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year courses are interdisciplinary seminars. Honors Seniors take Honors 498: Honors Thesis during the semester when they are completing their thesis projects.
2) When do I start my Honors Thesis?
Answer: The chair will be contacting you via University e-mail about your Honors Thesis in your sophmore year. Students will work on and complete their thesis during their Junior year.
3) Can I come up with my own thesis topic?
Answer: Absolutely. Students who want to create their own topic must first talk with the Program chair about it. The chair will then direct the student about how to write a proposal and set up a committee to oversee the work.
4) How long does my thesis have to be?
Answer: It depends upon the discipline. Artistic performances, for example, do not require papers. The Honors Program Chair will tell you what we expect. Typically, however, Honors Theses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Business will be around 30 pages.
5) I'm worried about writing my thesis, what can I do?
Answer: Many students in the Honors Program work as a research assistant for a professor and in that process write an original Honors Thesis. The professor, who is typically working on a research project, will carve out a small part of their work for you. This will give you the material for a 30 page paper. See black board postings for professors who are looking for research assistants or contact the chair about working with a faculty member roughly in your field.
6) How will I defend my Honors Thesis?
Answer: I schedule thesis defenses in public on particular days. The theses are advertised on bulletin boards around campus and notice of each defense is send to the President, Academic Vice President, and Deans of the Colleges. Students are typically asked to make a power point presentation about their research that lasts for 45 minutes. The presentation should be previewed by your advisor. Students should dress up for the presentation as administrators, other faculty, family, and friends, will typically attend the defense.
7) Do I have to defend my thesis the same semester that I finish it?
Answer: Yes, students have to completely finish their thesis within a week of their defense. The chair will need time to read the thesis before officially accepting it. Because 20 students can be presenting at once, this creates a lot of work. The Chair will need 2 weeks before grades are due to read through the final projects. Timeliness is particularly crucial during the Winter Semester because the University budget is based on the academic year and ends after the Winter Semester. Students who fail to get their thesis finished that semester may not receive payment.
8) Will I get paid for the thesis?
Answer: Yes. At the moment students receive $600.00 after they have completely finished and defended their thesis. Both their advisor and the Chair have to have signed off on the thesis for this to happen. Students must defend and finish writing their thesis the same semester.
9) Do I need any other advisors in the program?
Answer: It is best to communicate directly with the Chair on all program questions.
10) What happens if my grades slip?
Answer: When a student's grades slip too low they are placed on academic probation for a semester which means that they have a semester to bring them back up. The chair will contact students informing them that they are on academic probation and request a meeting. Do not worry about this meeting, however, it is soley to offer any help possible.