Written by Amy Couto
As the semester comes to a close, it is time for honors juniors and seniors to turn their attention to their honors theses. Many honors students are intimidated by the prospect of writing an honors thesis—a project that is the culmination of one’s studies at BSU and an achievement that reflects tremendous effort, creativity, and intellectual mastery—but let us explain why students should embrace this experience.
Honors theses can research projects or creative endeavors. We have accepted projects that range from art installations and dance performances to novels and research papers. Writing an honors thesis is a transformative experience that allows students to become mini-experts in their chosen field. The process sharpens written and oral communication skills and develops students’ critical thinking, synthesis and analysis abilities. The thesis also allows students to forge a close and meaningful relationship with a faculty mentor, an individual who not only guides the thesis writing process, but also directs a student to other opportunities like conference presentations, graduate programs, prestigious grants, or employment connections (and they facilitate a great letter of recommendation, too!).
And the honors thesis isn’t just for students who intend to pursue graduate school! The honors thesis is a student’s way to demonstrate to employers that they had the motivation and determination to complete a major project, as well as the practical skills that employers desire in their employees.
Jessica Polaski, ’14 graduated with Commonwealth Honors in Management and has this to say about the honors thesis process: “writing an Honors thesis was one of the best experiences I had during my college career. It was the most fulfilling ‘assignment’ I had at Bridgewater and definitely one of my proudest accomplishments to date.” Jessica recently accepted a position at Valassis as a Client Marketing Specialist. Jessica explains that it was her honors thesis that made her stand out to the hiring committee: “I can confidently say that my thesis helped me land a great position in my career field as a Marketing Specialist. I was able to use my thesis to show my passion for research and analytics. Writing a thesis was not easy, it took dedication, persistence, the ability to adapt to changes and overcome struggles. It also demonstrated the desire to push myself to be the best I could be, not only academically, but also in a new professional environment. These traits are the reason I was hired and I would not have had this opportunity if it was not for the Honors Program, their staff, as well as my thesis mentor, Dr. Todd Harris. Thank you for getting me to where I am today.”
To submit your honors thesis proposal, follow this link and submit your application by January 18, 2017.