Arts Thesis Guidelines - University of Houston
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Completing a Thesis in the Research Humanities

The Senior Honors Thesis in the humanities is typically envisioned and executed entirely as a written piece of work. This kind of thesis might resemble a long research paper in form, but it is different than a class paper. It tackles a problem that others have not yet addressed adequately, or it approaches the problem from a new angle. Research into what others have said and done is the essential first step, but your thesis should go beyond prior work to include your own insights and critical thinking. You should have an acquaintance with the relevant scholarship and display originality in the formulation of your arguments. Typically, such a thesis will run 50-75 pages.

Completing a Thesis in the Visual or Performing Arts

The visual or performing arts thesis, although based in large part on an original creative or on a performative component, must incorporate a substantial, research-based written component. Along with high-quality images of the original creative work or performance (and the corresponding lists of figures/illustrations, labels under the images, and incorporation within the body of the writing), the thesis has two components: 1) critical introduction, and 2) the body chapters which include visual/rhetorical analysis of the artwork or performance in terms of the ideas set up in the critical introduction.

While the length of the visual arts or performance thesis will depend on the medium and nature of the project, suggested guideposts include: 15-20 pages for the critical introduction and 20-30 pages for the visual/rhetorical analysis of the artwork or performance. More important than length is the quality of thought and writing. For more information on writing a visual or performing arts thesis, please refer to the Visual Arts Thesis Overview and Guidelines or the Performing Arts Thesis Overview and Guidelines.

A senior honors thesis must demonstrate:

  • Substantial research-based argumentation (with all the accompanying effective incorporation, analysis, and synthesis and citation of sources)
  • Quality organization and prose
  • Professional formatting

Deadlines and Procedures

Please refer to the McGovern College of the Arts Thesis guidelines for important deadlines, formatting requirements, and procedures.

Email Dr. Marcus Maroney to submit your Honors Thesis prior to the deadline. Your thesis will be reviewed you will be required to make corrections and resubmit the thesis. Once approved, you will submit your final thesis to the Honors College.

The thesis defense form and directions for submitting the final approved thesis to the Honors College can be found on the Honors College's Defense and Graduation page. After your thesis is checked and approved by your college, the final thesis must be submitted to the Senior Honors Thesis Electronic Portal by the last day of the term.

There are no bound copies of the thesis required for the McGovern College of the Arts or the Honors College. However, all students who complete the senior honors thesis are welcome to submit a bound copy to the Honors College for display in the Estess Library.

Senior Honors Thesis Representatives