Writing and Submitting Your Thesis

Each discipline has its own way of writing and you should follow the instructions of your research mentor/advisor. For example, many advisors may recommend that the thesis be written in the form of a scientific article. There are considerable similarities in the elements of a report, whether written in article form or not. Usually the following elements are present:

  • A statement of the problem to study
  • A rationale for why it would be useful to do so
  • A literature review that shows a grasp of the state of the art on this topic, with formatted references listed at the end of the thesis
  • A description of how the study was conducted
  • A report on how the data were analyzed
  • A discussion of the findings
  • A report of conclusions and observations
  • A suggestion of what might be worth doing next

Students commonly ask for guidance about thesis length in terms of pages. This matter is largely between the student and the mentor, although theses between 10 and 20 pages are not uncommon. A cover page for the mentor should be included.

Submitting your thesis to the Undergraduate Programs & Services, 116 Agricultural Hall, is an important requirement that must be satisfied before you can be granted your Honors degree. By submitting your thesis, we know that you have completed your work.

In general, you should plan to submit your thesis by the end of the finals period for the semester in which you plan to graduate. It may be possible to extend this deadline by a few days if necessary — consult with the honors dean for details.

There are two steps to complete:

Step 1: Complete the Abstract Form and Cover Sheet print it out, and bring the completed abstract form (by hand, FAX or Mail) to 116 Agricultural Hall.

Step 2: Preferred: If you are willing for your thesis to become part of the electronic library collections and accessible to the public (and generally there is no downside to this choice), submit your thesis in PDF format, Abstract Form and  Cover Sheet, to Undergraduate Programs & Services either by email attachment to academicaffairs@cals.wisc.edu or on disk to 116 Agricultural Hall.

Alternative: If you do not want your thesis accessible in the electronic library, do the following. Complete and print two copies of the Abstract Form and Cover Sheet. Print two copies of your thesis and bring them to 116 Agricultural Hall (no FAXes). Your thesis will be cataloged as a print document in the regular library holdings.