Thesis Timeline - University of Houston
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Completing a senior honors thesis requires steady, independent work. Below is a month-by-month guide to help you stay on track. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Your thesis director, other committee members, and college liaison will help identify other requirements. You may also contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards ( with any questions throughout your thesis program.

By now you should have already completed all the steps on the How to Apply page, including:

  • Registering for your first-semester thesis course (3399)
    • You will register for a total of six credit hours (3399 and 4399) for your thesis. These hours might count toward your major degree requirements, but you must verify this information with your academic advisor.
  • Submitting your prospectus, signed prospectus approval form, and thesis checklist to OURMA
  • Attending the mandatory senior honors thesis orientation

First Semester

  • Register for Writing Studios via Blackboard/Canvas (if your GPA is below 3.25, this is required).
    • If you attend all Writing Studio meetings during both semesters in the program, the Honors College will pay for up to $150 of printing and binding fees for your thesis.
  • Schedule writing and research time. Treat thesis hours as a priority on your calendar.
  • Review past theses in the Senior Honors Thesis Digital Repository.
  • Contact a librarian ( to map out your research.
  • Work on literature review and methods sections. Talk to your thesis director about how many sources you should include and what types of sources (books, journal articles, websites, etc.).
The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (OURMA) will assign an Honors reader to complete your committee.
  • Meet with your first and second readers.
  • Reach out to your Honors reader when you receive their name.
  • Draft an appropriate number of pages on your background readings, outlining the main arguments.
  • Share your writing with our thesis director.
  • Work toward developing your thesis statement.
  • Meet with your full thesis committee, if needed.
  • Submit drafts to your thesis director.
  • Revisit your timeline for moving forward. Are you on track? What needs to be updated? Think about what you need to accomplish before the end of this semester and over the break.
  • Speak with your academic advisor to enroll in the second thesis course for the next semester (same subject, same instructor, but the course number will be "4399" unless you are an Architecture student).
  • Submit drafts or progress reports to your thesis director at the end of the term.
  • Your thesis director should assign a grade of "IP" (in progress) for 3399.
  • Ensure that you are enrolled in 4399 for next semester. This is ultimately your responsibility.
  • Communicate with your director and OURMA if you choose not to continue in the thesis program.
  • Map out a manageable writing schedule. You should feel productive, but not overwhelmed, during this time.

Second Semester

  • Make sure you see the 4399 course on your schedule before the first day of classes.
  • Check in with your thesis director and respond to any feedback they have for you.
  • Set up a time to meet with all of your readers, as a group or individually.
  • Set a writing schedule and fully commit. Sign up for Writing Studios again!
    • You should be in the middle section of your thesis at this point.
  • Review the College-Specific Information page to find your college thesis liaison and college-specific requirements, forms, and deadlines. Every college has a different filing deadline!
  • Ask if your college requires bound thesis copies and follow up with your department. Some colleges may not require you to bind your thesis, but your department might. The Honors College does not require bound thesis copies but welcomes them to display in the Estess Library.
    • Call the University Copy Center or Legacy Bookbinding for pricing.
  • Check the UH Academic Calendar for the course drop deadline. This is never fun to think about, but if you end up deciding that your thesis is not going as planned and need to withdraw from the 4399 course, you may want the freedom to drop the course and only receive a grade for 3399.
  • Ask your thesis director what a successful senior honors thesis defense looks like.
  • You already reviewed your college-specific deadline, so you should have a good idea of when you need to schedule your thesis defense (for most, it's early April or early November). Revisit your timeline with this in mind.
  • Your first full draft should be complete by the end of this month. Send first to your thesis director, and possibly other committee members, for feedback.
  • Use the first few weeks of this month to make additional revisions to your thesis.
  • Schedule your final thesis defense for early next month with your full committee.
    • Consider whether your defense will be in person or online. If you are planning an in-person defense, you will need to request a room on campus by speaking to your department. Rooms may be available in the Honors College as well.
  • Send your final thesis document to all three committee members at least two weeks before your scheduled defense. This gives them plenty of time to read and make notes for questions.
  • Defend your senior honors thesis!
  • Have your committee sign the Final Defense and Evaluation Form and send it to OURMA.
  • Make revisions to your thesis as directed by your committee.
  • Submit all required documents, including your final thesis as a PDF and defense approval form, to your college thesis liaison.
  • Submit your final, revised, and approved thesis PDF to the Honors College via a provided web link. This web entry will capture all information needed for the digital collection in the library.
  • Keep an eye out for binding voucher information of up to $150 if you have attended all Writing Studio sessions for both semesters in the Senior Honors Thesis program.
  • Make sure all required documents have been received by OURMA and your college.
  • Ask your thesis director to assign a grade for your thesis work to both 3399 and 4399.