Urban Studies Honors

Honors Thesis

The Urban Studies Honors Program is intended for students who have been highly successful in their Urban Studies concentration coursework and who want the opportunity to pursue a research project in more depth than is possible in an undergraduate seminar. Such a project requires a high degree of initiative and dedication.  It also requires significant amounts of time and energy, as well as demonstrated skills in research and writing. It can be one of the most challenging, and rewarding, experiences of an undergraduate’s career.  The skills that students gain and demonstrate in writing an honors thesis--including conceptualizing, researching, organizing, and writing -- are valued by many employers and graduate programs.

2019-2020 Honors Thesis Application 
(Due Friday, April 24, 2020)

Summer Research Funding Application

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10 Steps to the Honor's Thesis

  1.  Contact a professor to serve as your Honor's Advisor.
  2.  Attend the informational meeting hosted by the Program in the spring   of your junior year.
  3.  Complete the online Honor's Thesis Application by the spring deadline.
  4.  Start your research in the summer before senior year.  See funding opportunities HERE.
  5.  Register for URBN 1971 Senior Honors Thesis I in Urban Studies (Fall-S/NC)) and URBN 1972 Senior Honors Thesis II in Urban Studies (Spring-Grade).
  6.  In the fall and spring, meet with your Honors Thesis Advisor on a regular schedule.
  7.  Confirm your Second Reader, if you haven't already.
  8.  Attend monthly group meetings with your peers.
  9.  Follow the timetable (see below) to meet all deadlines.
  10.  Submit signed thesis to the Academic Program Manager in April of senior year.


All students who concentrate in Urban Studies take ten courses from the Introductory, Research Methods, Core, Seminar, and Complementary curriculum list to fulfill the concentration requirements. However, for qualified students interested in conducting a substantial independent research project in their senior year, the Urban Studies Program offers the option of an Honors Thesis in Urban Studies.

Twelve courses are required of an Honors concentrator -- i.e., two in addition to the ten courses required of a regular concentrator.  During the fall and spring of the senior year, honors candidates must complete URBN 1971 Senior Honors Thesis I in Urban Studies (mandatory S/NC) and URBN 1972 Senior Honors Thesis II in Urban Studies (mandatory grade).  

In both courses, intensive reading, research, and writing under the direction of the faculty advisor occurs. Mandatory attendance at periodic meetings during the semester is required.  To receive an Honors degree, the candidate's thesis and course record must be of outstanding quality.


Students must apply to the honors program by the middle of the second semester of their junior year. (This applies to students who will complete degree requirements in December, as well as in May.) To be eligible to apply for honors, a student's academic record in the Urban Studies Program must include a majority of A's (3.8 GPA) in required Urban Studies courses. The student's application for honors must include a statement describing a proposal for a research project to be carried out in the senior year. The application must be countersigned by the faculty member who is to serve as the student's honors advisor. All applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee and the Director of Urban Studies Program. Students whose applications are approved for the program will be notified by the end of the second semester of their junior year.  In addition, students can apply for competitive research funding.

Writing the Thesis:

The thesis advisor works closely with the student on his/her project. By the end of the first month of the senior year, the honors candidate will be required to arrange with one additional faculty member to serve as reader. The honors candidate will submit a completed draft of the thesis to the faculty advisor and the second reader by the middle of the second semester of the student's senior year. The final draft is due mid-April.

Cover Sheet:

Your thesis should be submitted to the department with a cover sheet that bears the signature of your advisor, your reader, and the Program Director. Be certain to leave enough time to collect signatures before you need to submit the final copy.

PLEASE NOTE: This sheet should be signed before you have your thesis bound. The original signature sheet should be included with the thesis when it is delivered to the printer for duplication and binding.

Schedule for 2017-18 Honors Thesis in Urban Studies

This schedule is intended to help students pace themselves over the senior year.  Students and advisors should meet regularly, at least monthly, and may work out a timetable that best suits them.   The university’s Office of the Registrar dictates certain deadlines toward the end of the second semester which are inflexible and mandatory. 

2018-19 Honors Thesis Calendar (printable)


Meet with advisor and reader.  Advisor shall review summer research and suggest additional primary sources and secondary works, beyond those identified in the proposal.  Review methods to be used to answer the research question.  Continue with research conducted over the summer.

September – Honors Thesis Meeting

October 9 Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit a tentative outline of each chapter. Identify issues to be examined and sources to be consulted.  Submit detailed outline of a chapter.  Continue research if necessary.

November 13 Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit final outline of thesis and a bibliography.  Clarify the argument you will make.

December 11 Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit first chapter draft.  Finish research.  

January 29 Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit second chapter draft to advisor.  Be sure you are enrolled in URBN 1972 Senior Honors Thesis II (grade).

February 26 Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit third chapter draft.

March 19 (before Spring break) Honors Thesis Meeting
Submit remaining chapters (if any).  Draft conclusion and introduction.

April 5
Submit complete first draft of thesis to advisor and reader.  Seminar presentations begin.

April 9
Receive comments on thesis and begin revisions.
April 17 Honors Thesis Meeting

April 16
Submit final, polished version for advisor and 2nd reader signatures. Collect signatures for Thesis Submittal sheet; this should be included w/ bound copy for the department.

April 19
Submit bound and signed thesis to Urban Studies department.

April 26
Thesis advisor submits a written evaluation of thesis to Urban Studies department and the Registrar.

May 8 (tentative)
Thesis presentations to the Urban Studies Program and celebration BBQ.