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Thesis Guidelines for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Completing a Thesis in the Humanities and Social Sciences 

The Senior Honors Thesis in humanities and social science disciplines is typically envisioned and executed entirely as a written piece of work. This kind of thesis might resemble a long research paper in form, but it is different than a class paper. It tackles a problem that others have not yet addressed adequately or it approaches the problem from a new angle. Research into what others have said and done is the essential first step, but your thesis should go beyond prior work to include your own insights and critical thinking. You should have an acquaintance with the relevant scholarship and display originality in the formulation of your arguments. Typically, such a thesis will run 50-75 pages. 

Completing a Thesis in the Visual Arts, Performing Arts or Creative Writing

The creative Senior Honors Thesis consists of a substantial body of work that displays your best creative work over the course of your undergraduate career. Your thesis should also include an introductory essay contextualizing your creative work within the field and offering critical insights into your creative process. Works of fiction usually run 50-100 pages, while poetry typically has somewhat fewer pages. The page requirements will vary greatly depending on the project.

Completing a Performance Thesis Project

A performance thesis project can be conducted in a variety of ways, but it must have a written component. The written portion should be at least 25 pages in length and provide comprehensive information on what is being performed. In music, the student should write about the various compositions. In theatre and dance, the student should provide information on the piece performed. 

The written portion can be extended program notes on the performance. It should include some placement of the piece historically and information on the composer or playwright. Some issues of music, theatre or dance theory and analysis should probably also be addressed. If relevant, the student should provide information on his or her artistic vision for the production and what he or she was trying to achieve through the performance. It is essential that the student works with the thesis director early on to develop the guidelines for the undergraduate thesis project. 


The first step for all English majors is to complete the English Dept. Thesis Director Form and submit it to the English Advisor, 205 Roy G. Cullen Building.

Working with Human Subjects 

If your research proposal includes working with human subjects, you must receive approval from the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) policy prior to initiating your research. 

CLASS Senior Honors Thesis Representative

Anna Marchese from the CLASS Dean's Office is your contact. 

Pertinent information on formatting, binding and binding deadline: 

Email Marchese for an appointment before the binding deadline during the semester you are defending your thesis. Include “Senior Honors Thesis” in the subject line. Provide her with your UH PeopleSoft number when scheduling. By the deadline, plan to submit a copy of your defended thesis on regular paper and your signature pages — signed by all three of your committee members — on 100 percent cotton paper. You bind your own thesis once you receive your signature pages back with Dean Tillis’ signature.

You are not required to purchase bound copies for CLASS or the Honors College. However, you should ask your research mentor if he/she would like a bound copy of your thesis and if your department would like a copy. You will be required to submit an electronic copy of your thesis to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards to be added to the University of Houston Libraries' digital repository.