Honors Thesis

Honors Thesis (PHY194H)

The University give three levels of honors at graduation: honors, high honors, and highest honors. The lowest level (honors) is based purely on a GPA cutoff. To receive high honors or highest honors, you need to enroll in two quarters of a Physics 194H research project with a faculty advisor. Before beginning Physics 194H, you must write a one-page project proposal for approval by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee chair.

At the end of Physics 194H you will be expected to write an undergraduate thesis, which must be read by your research advisor before you submit it. The thesis will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, a subset of the physics faculty. Your advisor will also write a brief statement describing your work. Based on your entire record, but especially the thesis, the committee will decide which level of honors to recommend you for.

The committee looks at the thesis, most importantly, for physics outside of normal coursework and some understanding of the research process. This may include a new result from your project; but even if something goes terribly wrong with your research program, you can discuss the physics background and motivation for your project.

The thesis should have roughly the same format as a Ph.D. thesis or a journal paper. This includes an abstract, an introductory section describing the relevant physics background and physics motivation, an explanation of the techniques used, your results, a conclusion which may point the way to further work, and a list of references. In the "results" section, show actual data when possible rather than simply summarizing your interpretation. If your project doesn't work out, you can use that section to explain what the problems were, how you discovered them, and how they might eventually be solved. If your project is mainly a study of the literature on a particular question, you can replace the "results" section with a discussion of what opinions you formed and what led you to them.

Your advisor will be able to give you feedback as you write the thesis, and you are welcome to ask me if you have further questions.

Best wishes,
Patricia Boeshaar
(Chair, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee)

The submitted copy of your thesis should contain:

1. A Title Page containing:

The Thesis Title
Your Name
The date submitted
Your thesis advisor’s name

2. An abstract of the work presented. Below this should be a Table of Contents, listing
each section of your thesis followed by the page number on which it begins.

3. The body of your thesis, with pages clearly numbered.

4. A comprehensive bibliography of all works cited in the body of your thesis.