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Honors Thesis Guidelines

Requirements and schedule for completion of the program

The program in Animal Science requires that your thesis be prepared in consultation w ith your research mentor and, w hen the tw o of you agree that it is in optimal form, the thesis will be examined by the Committee. The committee may consult with independent faculty in arriving at its final assessment.

After review of the thesis by members of the Committee, candidates w ill be required to orally defend their w ork in closed sessions with members of the Committee. This final evaluation is not intended to be intimidating; rather, it provides an opportunity for the members of the Committee to assess your command of the subject matter under investigation and for them to obtain their own opinion of your independence and development as a beginning scientist. In many cases, the Committee will offer minor, but often important, suggestions for changes in content or presentation to improve the final form of the thesis. It is expected that these changes will be made.

Honors Thesis Guidelines

Schedule:  The deadlines are needed to permit adequate review to be completed and final decisions to be made so that recommendations for the award of “ with Distinction in Research” can be passed on to the College Registrar before Commencement .

  • Start work on the thesis as early as you can - it will always take longer than anticipated and you will be amazed at how quickly time after Spring Break passes.
  • Discuss with your mentor the planned contents (in outline form) - especially the scope of the literature review, because this should be assembled as early as possible.
  • Draft the thesis and incorporate ideas and suggestions arising from review and discussion with your mentor.
  • A final version, representing your best effort, must be review ed and approved by your mentor before it is submitted for examination. Be sure that both parties agree to a time-line, so that the preparation is optimal.
  • Submit three copies of your final version for examination by the Committee by ______.  These should be editorially polished, complete copies, but simple photocopies of illustrations and figures will suffice. The Committee may insist upon further changes, so do not go to the expense of elaborate binding at this t ime - numbered pages in a folder (clipped together) or a ring-binder will suffice. All Committee copies will be returned to you on ____. One bound, revised, complete copy of the thesis is to be lodged with Dr. Quirk by _____ - failure to do so will prevent the Registrar being informed of the Committee’s recommendation. Depending upon how fancy you choose to have the binding, this can take some time - bear this in mind when making any  required revisions after ____.  The thesis w ill be placed permanently in the Departmental thesis collection. Many students choose to bind additional copies for themselves, parents, research advisor, etc. You w ill be contacted from Roberts Hall regarding their requirements for electronic copies of your abstract, format of the thesis title page, about the option to have your thesis published electronically through the library system and a special graduation weekend event for honors students. Additional instructions will be provided by Dr. Quirk.
  • You will be scheduled to meet individually with members of the Honors Committee, for a 20 to 30 minute defense of your thesis, the second week of May.
  • The thesis should be prepared using a high quality laser or ink-jet printer. You may expect to need several draft  versions, so be sure to save back-ups,  not  just  on your hard drive.  There is no strict stipulation on maximal size of the thesis but the text portion (excluding figures, tables, etc.) should not exceed 25 to 30 pages of double-spaced text, using 12 point characters. To help others who will be reading your thesis, please avoid the use of right- justification. Tables and figures should be of high quality with Titles (tables) numbered I, II, III, etc. and Legends (figures) numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.  Legends should be sufficiently complete to enable a figure to stand alone and should appear at the bottom of the figure.
  • The title of a table is placed at the top. Additional details about the table are included as footnotes placed at the bottom of the table. See examples of the format of tables and figures in any high quality scientific periodical. All tables and figures should be referenced from the text. To avoid cluttering the text, voluminous raw, or partly processed, data that you wish to be included in the thesis, should be presented as numbered appendices. The final version of  the thesis for the Department of Animal Science collection should be bound in some robust manner (spiral plastic is fine). Students may  volunteer to publish their theses  in the Internet-First University Press if it does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in another journal (information will be provided by CALS).

The thesis should include the follow ing sections, each clearly  separated by a boldface heading (place items 1-4 on separate pages, begin 5 on a new page, but items 6-10 may run on):

  1. Title Page (following CALS guidelines provided to you)
  2. Abstract - confine to 1 page
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. Table of Contents
    1. 4a (if warranted) - a list of abbreviations used
  5. Introduction - a brief statement (usually 1 to 2 pages) that serves to introduce the reader to the subject of your study - finish this with an explicit statement of your experimental objectives.
  6. Review of the Literature
  7. Materials and Methods - include a description of the experimental design, methods employed or developed, statistical methods used, as appropriate - consult with your mentor on the degree to which you detail methodology that is already published. It may be convenient to place fine detail of methods (e.g. recipes, when these are detailed) in an appendix.
  8. Results
  9. Discussion - this may include subheadings for “ conclusions” or “ future directions for this research,” if you so choose. For some theses, combining Results and Discussion may be desirable, and is quite acceptable.
  10. Literature Cited - adopt any of the standard formats with which you are familiar from your reading of scientific journals. Include full titles and all authors. Be sure to double-check citations in the text with those in the reference list. Programs are available to help prepare your reference list  and it may be a good idea to ask your mentor what is currently being used by the lab.
  11. Appendices (if you wish)