Undergraduate Thesis Guidelines

Registration and Credit

Undergraduate students may prepare an Honors thesis through the Honors College or a Senior Thesis through the department:

Honors Thesis: register for AIS 498H and complete the Honors College Thesis Prospectus Form.

Senior Thesis: register for AIS 498A and complete AIS’s Senior Thesis Prospectus Form.

  • Theses are generally undertaken over the course of two semesters. Students generally register for 3 units of thesis hours per semester (6 units total).
  • The University of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents require a minimum of 45 hours of coursework for each unit of credit awarded.  Therefore, you should expect to spend a minimum of 135 hours on the thesis project per semester, or 270 hours over the course of two semesters.
  • The registration fee for Senior or Honors Thesis credit is calculated at the same rate as for other credit courses.           

Thesis Prospective

Students should have a specific proposal in mind when registering for thesis credit.  Students registering for either Honors and Senior thesis credit must prepare a 1-2 page summary of the planned thesis that includes a statement of the problem, methodology, anticipated results and references. 

The content of theses must not significantly duplicate material produced by the student in fulfillment of the course requirements of any regularly scheduled courses at the University of Arizona. 

Thesis Format

Senior and Honors theses are designed to be major student projects that can involve various types of original research. While the type of research undertaken can vary, a substantive and substantial written product is required for completion of your Honors or Senior thesis. 

While there are no set requirements as to length, most theses range between 40 and 60 pages in length including illustrations and references. If you are working with scientific materials or statistics, the paper produced might be shorter than this, while if you are utilizing interviews and participant/observations techniques, it might be longer. 

You should discuss the thesis length and other expectations with your thesis advisor prior to the start of your thesis. You will discuss the format of your thesis with your faculty advisor.

Additional Considerations

If your research involves observation or interviews with individuals or groups, you may be required to get permission from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to undertake this research in order to ensure the protection of your informants. Sometimes it can take several months to get this permission, so plan accordingly.