Skip to main content

Honors Thesis

Honors Thesis

Basic description:

The honors thesis is a research project, original or expository, or a combination of both, typically performed under the direction of a faculty member at the University of Rochester. If a compelling case is made, work may be performed under the direction of a faculty member from another department, another university or research center or a private corporation. The write-up must be at least 20 pages long (counting bibliography and figures) and include a thorough introduction and reference section. The honors thesis must be presented in a public lecture at the UR Department of Mathematics in the presence of the Thesis Committee, consisting of the thesis advisor and at least two members of the Undergraduate Research Committee. If the advisor is a member of the Undergraduate Research Committee, one of the remaining members of the thesis committee need not be a member. Upon the completion of the presentation, the advisor and committee member must fill out and sign the honors form if they feel the honors thesis meets the requirements.


Undergraduate Research Committee (2020-2021): Jonathan Pakianathan (chair), Alex Iosevich, Naomi Jochnowitz, Arjun Krishnan, and Sevak Mkrtchyan. Standing members: Mark Herman, Kalyani Madhu, and Amanda Tucker.


Procedure: Students who wish to write an honors thesis are strongly encouraged to begin the planning process early.

They must register for 2 units of Math 395W in the either the Spring of Fall semester of senior year (or, rarely, Spring of junior year).

By the end of February, they should provide the following information to the Undergraduate Research Committee:

i) The name of the advisor
ii) The names of the remaining two members of the Thesis Committee. Note that at least two out of the three members of the thesis committee must be members of the Undergraduate Research Committee.
ii) A tentative title and a rough description of the research


By April 15th, the student must send a good draft of the honors these to the Thesis Committee and the chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee. The Thesis Committee members are expected to send a list of corrections and suggestions to the author within a week. This will give the author an opportunity to make the appropriate adjustments to the thesis prior to the presentation. 

By April 22nd, the honors thesis presentation is to be scheduled so that the Thesis Committee can all attend. The scheduled date and time should be sent toMath Department Secretary Hazel McKnight, so as to be announced to the larger community. 

The presentation is a 50-minute talk, with 10 minutes of questions by the general audience, followed by anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes of closed-door questions from the committee.

The student then steps out, the committee discusses, and then the committee should then communicate the results to the student, sign the form, and turn it in to the front office.

Samples of past honors papers can be found here.