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Larry D. Carver, Director CLA 2.104, Mailcode G6210, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3458

Thesis FAQs

For more details look at the complete thesis manual.

Length  
How long should a thesis be?  Each discipline will make different guidelines for the length of its honors theses.  One-semester theses are often thirty to fifty pages in length, and two-semester theses are usually fifty to eighty.  

Can my research include human subjects, interviews?  
Any student using research with human subjects must receive the approval of the Office of Research Support and Compliance.  More information is available online.

Funding:  Can I get funding for thesis research?    
There are various research fellowships and scholarships to help with undergraduate theses.  The Liberal Arts Honors Programs sponsor the Rapoport-King scholarship which awards both the student and supervising professor.  The Vice President for Research sponsors Undergraduate Research Fellowships, or URF's, which award only the student.  In addition, other entities such as the University Co-op have various scholarship opportunities.  You may need to do some footwork to find out more.  Usually, a proposal and letter of recommendation from your supervisor are required.

Who can supervise a thesis?  
The student is responsible for securing two readers.  Your  thesis supervisor (first reader) must be a member of the UT Austin faculty. Usually, your supervisor should be a professor with whom you have previously worked.  The second reader is usually a faculty member, but may in some cases be an expert in your field  outside of the university.  Approval for non-faculty readers should always be obtained from your specific department before making any firm commitments.  A successful student-supervisor match is one of the most important elements for a successful thesis.

Style Guidelines from Your Department and the College of Liberal Arts   
Consult your department for their specific style requirements. Some departments may not have special requirements, but you should always check first.  Upon completion, submit a copy of your thesis with the original signature page to your major department. You may want to supply a copy to the library for archival purposes.  It is also a customary courtesy to provide a bound copy to your first reader.     The Liberal Arts Council has set the following guidelines for theses that are to be shelved in the library:  

  1. The copy must be bound in a simple tape flat binding (no spiral bound). A Velo vinyl report cover is preferred. You can get your thesis bound at any printing or copy and  binding store. It is recommended you provide them your thesis in hard copy or on a disk in pdf format, so changes to your text or formatting are not inadvertently made.
  2. The copy needs to be on 100 % cotton acid-free paper.
  3. Margins need to be at least 1.25", especially on the left.
  4. The departmental honors program often requires a bound, signed original. Check with your honors adviser. The student may submit a copy to be placed in the main library.  It is a courtesy to present a copy to each reader.
  5. The Title Page should be based on the template for the masters thesis or dissertation,  with title, author, "special honors in [department name]," and month and year of degree.
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