The Clark Honors College undergraduate experience culminates in the thesis, a required advanced research project completed in the student's major field. Our Thesis Award recipients demonstrate that the thesis project stimulates intellectual and personal growth, promotes independence and resilience, and inspires both patience and passion. Students develop traits that contribute to future success in graduate school, post-graduation careers, and civic commitments. The thesis embodies the defining characteristics of a Clark Honors College education:
- mental discipline
- independence of mind and judgment
- capacity to design and execute a complex project
- ability to focus and pursue a subject in depth
- skills of analysis, synthesis, and clear writing
The CHC thesis is the culmination of work in a major—a natural outgrowth from and expression of the ideas, problems, and approaches taught in that discipline. It creatively applies the methods of the discipline and tests students' power and limits, reflecting dialogue, common work, and apprenticeship with faculty members in their specialized fields of interest.
Meet some CHC students who have combined study abroad experiences with their CHC thesis projects—with outstanding results!
Alison Fox conducted original field research in Paraguay while working as a project manager for an international aid organization.
Caleb Owen studied the role of taarab music within changing communities in Kenya.
Past CHC theses are shelved in the CHC Library in 301 Chapman Hall. These are non-circulating but may be freely consulted by any CHC student. They are shelved by year and author name. To find a thesis, you may browse in the library, or you may click here for the CHC Thesis Search Engine.
In order to restrict your search to CHC theses do the following:
- Under STEP 1 “Enter Search Terms” use the first pulldown menu to specify Title Search. Enter "honors college" in the search box. Use the second and third pulldown menus to narrow your search with any other keywords.
- Under STEP 2 “Select Limits” use the pulldown menu to specify UO Theses
The Thesis Process
The thesis is a voyage. The best theses often begin as term papers or as lab experiments, and the best advising relationships usually begin in the classroom or the science lab. As you select and explore your major, actively look for questions and ideas that you would like to investigate further, and choose courses or lab internships with professors who are expert in such topics. Working with an advisor with whom you have already taken a class means beginning with shared understanding and experience. The Clark Honors College has an expert liaison in the university's Knight Library—Miriam Rigby—who helps CHC thesis researchers, in coordination with their advisors, identify and acquire especially-pertinent resources.
Several steps will prepare you for a successful thesis. The CHC Blackboard site, in which all current CHC students are automatically enrolled, amplifies the following outline:
HC223 or HC233: Foundations in Research (4 credits), begins the thesis process in freshman or sophomore year. HC 408: Thesis Orientation (1 credit), a small-cohort workshop taken late in the sophomore year or early in the junior year, examines research questions in different majors and suggests tactics for identifying potential thesis advisors.
Upper-division courses in the major let you work with potential advisors and develop topic ideas. Students in the professional schools often produce portfolio theses that combine academic analysis with their professional training.
HC477: Thesis Prospectus (2 credits) guides senior-level research work with your Primary Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Defense, usually held in the last term of attendance at CHC, is a public oral presentation of your thesis, with a question-and-answer session with your thesis committee.
Your completed thesis will be bound and placed in the Robert D. Clark Library, as well as the university's Knight Library, joining the body of research produced at the UO by thesis students, graduate students, and faculty. In addition, CHC students have the opportunity to upload their theses to the UO Scholars Bank, the open access repository for the intellectual work of faculty, students, and staff at the University of Oregon. This option, whcih became available to CHC students in winter 2005, is entirely discretionary. Students with questions about uploading their work should contact a thesis advisor.