Honors Defense

Students complete their Honors Thesis by way of a formal, oral defense in front of their faculty committee during their final semester of thesis work. All defenses must occur with at least two weeks remaining in the semester, to allow time for revisions to be completed, should they be requested by the faculty committee. Following the defense, the thesis must be approved by all members of the faculty committee for Honors to be awarded.

Defense announcement

Within the first four weeks of the defense semester, students must schedule the day, time, and location of their defense and get it approved by the full supervisory committee.

All committee members and the student must attend the entire defense in real time. While defenses can be held remotely under extenuating circumstances, the Honors Program strongly prefers that the defense be held in person. If an in-person defense is not possible or prudent, students may work with their faculty director and committee members to schedule a virtual defense in real time. Students do not need permission from the Honors Program to complete a virtual defense if one is deemed necessary. However, if pursuing a virtual defense, students and committee members should consult the Virtual Defense Guidelines posted on the Honors Website.

Once the defense is scheduled, complete The Defense Announcement Form  and submit it via the online portal here no later than 4pm the day of the posted deadline. The form requires signatures from all of the faculty committee members, so plan ahead.

The project

There are two options for an Honors in the Major project, the Research Project and the Creative Project. Both require some written paper and should have a title page and signature page in the traditional format for an honors thesis. Use this Thesis Template as a resource. All HITM students are encouraged to utilize built-in headings and alt text captions to make their project accessible to screen readers.

The defense

Defenses usually take place in the Faculty Conference Room on the first floor, but may take place in other venues. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the location is reserved and available during the time of the defense.

The defense will typically be structured in the following manner, although the thesis director may choose another structure, if deemed appropriate:

  1. The student introduces their committee members;
  2. The student is asked to leave the room, so that the faculty committee may discuss the work amongst themselves for a few minutes;
  3. The student is invited back into the room and makes an oral presentation of 15-20 minutes;
  4. The faculty committee ask the student questions for 30-40 minutes;
  5. The student is asked to leave the room again, so that the faculty committee may decide an outcome;
  6. The student is invited back into the room and the thesis director either:
    1. Congratulates the student for passing the defense and the committee signs the defense certificate; or,
    2. Describes revisions that the faculty committee is requiring in order for the student to pass.

Paperwork and archiving

Upon successful completion of the thesis defense, students must submit the following forms to the Honors Program Office:

  • Defense Certificate – which must be signed by all the members of the faculty committee.
  • Embargo Request Form – which is used to request that the thesis be kept hidden on the archive for a specified amount of time. It is not recommended for general use but is available as an option if the display on DigiNole could negatively impact the student’s future plans (mainly for creative projects and papers in line for publication). This form is optional and should be signed by the student and the thesis director.

All undergraduate theses published at FSU are housed in the DigiNole archive. Students must submit their final signed thesis to the archive, either as a .pdf, .doc, or .docx file by the final day of classes in order to officially earn Honors in the Major.