Choosing a Topic

You should decide on the topic for your honors thesis as early as possible, and do so in close consultation with your advisor. The ideal topic will be:

  1. In a field in which your advisor is an expert.
  2. In a field with which you have some acquaintance through your previous coursework.
  3. Limited in scope: a narrow topic you can examine in depth is far better than a broad topic that you can only cover superficially. Most people tend to overestimate the amount of depth they can achieve in a 40-50 page thesis, so, in general, the more narrowly you think at this stage the better.
  4. One for which the resources for research are available on campus or easily obtainable within the necessary time frame.
  5. One for which both the primary sources and the best modern scholarship are available in a language which you have the ability to read (for honors in Greek or Latin, substantial reading of primary texts in the original languages will be required).

Ask potential advisors about suitable topics, and also ask in the departmental office to see successful theses that students in the department have written. These will give you some insight into the kinds of topic that work and the degree of depth required. For a list of recent completed theses in the Department, visit the Past Honors Projects page.