Another way a student for students to graduate with special designation from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is by completing an Undergraduate Research Thesis.  Conducting a thesis is a process of gaining an exposure to the research process while developing, performing and evaluating a research project under the guidance of an HRS faculty.  A student does not need to be a member of the Honors program to complete an Undergraduate Research Thesis.

Requirements to Graduate with Distinction:

  • Primary advisor within HRS (tenure-track, clinical, research or auxiliary faculty).

  • Upon Graduation: Overall GPA above 3.0, Major GPA >3.5

  • Present final project at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum (or equivalent forum)

  • Complete 4 hours of Honors Research (HRS 4998H or 4998)

  • Successful oral defense of thesis project

The typical timeframe for completing the process is to identify a research mentor, finalize the topic and develop the thesis proposal during the Junior year.  More detailed steps are provided in the thesis proposal development section.  Upon completion of the thesis proposal (and approval by the Honors Director for meeting guidelines), the student will host a proposal meeting to discuss and refine the research project with his or her primary research mentor and a secondary committee member who lends complementary expertise to the research process.  Students who host their proposal meeting prior to the last day of Spring semester will be eligible for the HRS Research Scholarship for the following year.

Thesis Forms

Application to Graduate with Distinction
Thesis Advisor Recommendation Form
Honors Thesis Proposal Form
Thesis Defense Form

Sample Proposals

The Effect of Ball Handling and Neurocognitive Processing in Lower Extremity Injury Risk in Soccer
College Student Health Behavior and Its Relationship to Social Media Use
Dietary Fiber Intake and Its Relationship to Childhood Obesity

Thesis Guidelines

Procedures to Develop a Thesis Proposal

The following is intended to provide a guideline to the process to aid in identifying a research mentor and formulating a research topic.  It is important to understand the limitations of resources available, including time, in designing successful thesis projects.  Projects that are required as part of degree program requirements; however, a student may build upon past experiences and training to take ​the next step for a transformational experience.
​Thesis Proposal Process:
  • Identify the Thesis Advisor within HRS to mentor you through the thesis
    • The best learning experiences will occur when you select a topic within the expertise of your mentor.
  • Establish thesis topic with the guidance of your Thesis Advisor
    • Work proposed must extend beyond requirements for program or a particular course 
  • Identify a thesis committee member and secure a written commitment
  • Develop thesis proposal under the guidance of Thesis Advisor based on thesis guidelines 
  • Host thesis proposal meeting with student, Thesis Advisor and Committee Member
    • Student must distribute final proposal to committee at least 1 week prior to the proposal meeting.
    • The preference of the format of the final thesis proposal document (electronic or paper) must be honored by the student for dissemination.
    • 1 week prior to Proposal Meeting, submit the following to the Honors Director: 
      • Application for Proposal of Undergraduate Research Thesis 
      • Recommendation by Primary Thesis Advisor 
      • Thesis proposal draft submitted to the committee
    • Establish ​agreement if the final thesis document will be traditional format or Journal article format.
  • Submit original signed Thesis Committee Approval Form to Honors Director immediately following the proposal meeting.
  • Proposals with a completed committee meeting prior to review deadlines for University and School scholarship deadlines will be reviewed for competitive funding.
  • Secure appropriate institutional approvals for human subjects or animal research.

​Important Deadlines

Deadline to propose thesis to be eligible for University Summer Research Scholarship 
(February deadlines). Details available at

Deadline to propose thesis to be eligible for HRS Research Scholarship: Last day of spring semester classes 

Thesis Proposal Guidelines

To ensure uniformity of content for Honors Committee review, research proposals must be developed using the thesis proposal. References will be formatted in accordance to the norm in the field but consistently executed throughout the document and the reference list. 

1. Problem Statement

  • Clearly state the background of the problem to be investigated and its significance in your field.
  • Discuss the importance of the topic within the context of etiology of the problem, but also how this topic is situated in a larger picture of the science (eg: mechanism of action vs disease progression)
2. Objectives of the Study
  • The objectives, hypotheses, and research questions should be clearly stated and logically related to the problem statement.
  • The relationship to an underlying research theory should be shown.
  • The objectives should be measurable and testable so that you will know if they have been met.

 3. Literature Review

  • Review and summarize the prior research around this problem.
  • Provide a theoretical basis for the research and its relationship to the problem.
  • Demonstrate how this study will extend the body of knowledge in this area.

 4. Materials and Methods

  • Overview of the Methodology
    • Briefly describe the overall research question and how the design will be used to answer the research question or hypotheses
  • Population and Sample
    • Describe the group from which your sample will be drawn and the method for obtaining or recruiting the sample.
    • Estimate the size of your sample.
    • Describe your plan for institutional approval from the ORRP. (Research with human subjects will probably require review by a Human Subjects Review Committee. Please discuss this requirement with your advisor to determine if such a review is necessary. Animal research will require IACUC approval. If IRB/IACUC approval is required, explain when this will occur.)
    • If research is in conjunction with another research project, clearly explain your role and responsibilities independent of the rest of the project. Explain whether/how this research can be completed if other parts of the project are stalled.
  • Research or Experimental Design
    • Describe the procedures that will be used to conduct the proposed research.
    • Provide a detailed description of the methods for data collection, intervention (if applicable), data tabulation and preparation.
    • Include a timetable for the data collection.
  • Instrumentation and data analysis
    • Describe what procedures or instruments will be used to collect data.  Include copies of instruments as appropriate.
    • Describe the reliability and validity of the instruments used to collect data.
    • Describe the data analysis tests or procedures that will be used to analyze each of the research questions.
  • Describe the facilities and other resources that are needed to conduct this research
  • Provide written evidence that any other departments or outside agencies will cooperate with the research project.​ 
 5. Facilities and/or Resources and Equipment Needed
  • Describe the facilities and other resources that are needed to conduct this research.
  • Provide written evidence that any other departments or outside agencies will cooperate with the research project.

Thesis Completion Process

After the student has successfully defended their thesis proposal, he or she may begin the thesis research process.

Thesis Completion Process:

Once progress on the thesis research has begun, a timeline should be developed to ensure suitable time for data collection, data analysis and writing of the document.

Students should expect 1 week period for the advisor to provide feedback on submitted writing progress, with some advisors requiring more or less time. 

Once data analysis is complete or by Spring Break, whichever comes first, the student should work with the primary advisor, the committee member and the assigned Honors Committee Representative to identify a time to hold the thesis defense.

Scheduled defense dates should account for the time needed to finalize the document, including 1 week for Advisor’s final review of the document and 1 week for student to incorporate the necessary changes prior to distribution to the committee.

The student must share the final thesis document with committee and Honors representative no later than 1 week prior to the scheduled defense. The format of the document delivered (paper or electronic) is based on the prerogative of each faculty member.

Thesis Defense:

A 1.5 hour thesis defense will be scheduled where the student will provide a 15-20 minute presentation of the research, with the remaining time allocated to questions from the committee and Honors representative.

The student will work the faculty advisor to secure a room for the date that has been approved by the Committee and Honors Representative.

At the conclusion of the defense, the student will be excused from the room for the committee to determine if the student satisfactorily defended the thesis project.

The verdict of the defense will be indicated on the Thesis Defense Form, be signed by Advisor, Committee Member and Honors Representative. The Honors Representative will return the Honors Director.

Submission of the Final Thesis to the Knowledge Bank

The student must submit to final thesis document, including any changes requested by the committee, to the Knowledge Bank​ by the last day of classes in the semester of graduation.

Forward confirmation of submission of thesis to Knowledge Bank to Honors Director

An embargo may be requested to delay the release of the content on the Knowledge Bank so that the work may also be submitted for peer-reviewed publication. 

Important Deadlines:

Denman Abstract Submission Deadline: February 5, 2015 at

Thesis defense deadline: 1 week following MS thesis defense date established by the graduate school (April 25, 2015)

Knowledge Bank submission: 1 week following thesis defense deadline (May 1, 2015). Directions for submission are available at:

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