Student Guidebook

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Barrett is here to support students throughout the thesis/creative project. The more students communicate with faculty and staff to better understand the process, the more it enhances your education and process. Please explore the resources available to ensure success. The entire Thesis/Creative Project Guidebook can be viewed PDF iconhere.

Thesis and Creative Project Student Guidebook

Thesis and Creative Project Student Guidebook

The Barrett honors thesis/creative project is the culmination of the entire honors experience and undergraduate education.  It is an opportunity to work closely with faculty and advance knowledge in the discipline in a meaningful way.  A thesis/creative project demonstrates experience with design, execution, analysis, and presentation in the chosen field of study.

What is a Thesis/Creative Project?

What is a Thesis/Creative Project?

The thesis/creative project is an original piece of work developed by the students, director, and committee. Most students complete an honors thesis/creative project within their major department but may choose a topic outside of the major. Each department may set its own standards for methodology (i.e., empirical, comparative, or descriptive), thesis/creative project length, and so onReview the relevant Opportunities in the Major documents created by the Faculty Honors Advisors (FHAs) here, and contact the FHAs in your area(s) of interest for additional information.


A scholarly research project involving analysis that is presented in written form. Represents a commitment to research, critical thinking, and an informed viewpoint of the student.

Creative Project

A project that combines scholarship and creative work in which the primary outcome consists of something other than a written document but includes a written document that supports the creative endeavor and involves scholarly research.

Group Projects

Group thesis/creative projects give students valuable experience and enable them to take on larger, more complicated topics. Barrett allows more than one student to work on a thesis/creative project, but ultimately, group projects are admissible only at the discretion of the thesis director.

Selecting a Topic

Selecting a Topic

Because the thesis/creative project is the culmination of undergraduate studies, begin thinking about a topic early.  Many students base the thesis/creative project on an aspect of coursework, internship, or research.  Once an area of interest is identified, take two or three courses that concentrate in that specific area. Selecting a topic should ultimately be done under the guidance of faculty. The thesis/creative project is a joint effort between students and faculty.

Consider these tips and resources as you begin the process of selecting a topic: 

- Reflect on past experience to determine interests.

- Talk to faculty including Faculty Honors Advisors about topics that are interesting and relevant to coursework, major, career interests, or from ongoing faculty research.

- View past thesis/ creative projects through the ASU Library Digital Repository.



The committee consists of a Director, a Second Committee Member, and may include a Third Committee Member. Ultimately, your committee must approve your thesis/creative project, so work closely with them throughout the process. Specific academic unit committee requirements can be found here.


- Regularly-appointed member of the ASU faculty, with professional expertise in the thesis/creative project area.

- Includes lecturer and tenure-line faculty.

- Primary supervisor of the project.

- Conducts regular meetings, provides feedback, sets expectations, and presides over the defense.

*Emeritus faculty may serve as thesis directors as approved by the FHA from the department which the thesis is to be completed. Directors are expected to be physically present at the thesis defense. They may not be reimbursed for travel related to attending the defense.

Second Committee Member

- Individual whom you and your Director decide is appropriate to serve based on knowledge and experience with the thesis/creative project topic.

- Credentials will be determined by the Director and the criteria of that academic unit.

- Conducts regular meetings, provides feedback, and offers additional evaluation at the defense.

Third Committee Member (optional-varies by academic unit)

- Faculty member or qualified professional.

- If required, credentials will be determined by the Director and the criteria of that academic unit.

- External Examiners are Third Committee Members.

- Offer insight and expertise on the topic and provides additional evaluation at the defense.



The prospectus is submitted at the start of the project. 

The prospectus includes project title, summary, timeline, and contact information and signatures for your Director and Second Committee Member.  It is also confirmation that all committee members have received and read the Thesis/Creative Project Committee Guidelines document. This document can be found on the Forms and Important Dates page.

The summary serves as an action plan for the thesis/creative project and provides a definitive list of goals and procedures, which you and your committee intend to work. You should include expectations for the project and overall timeline of progress and internal deadlines for your work.

Before you turn in your prospectus you should:

- Meet with both your Director and Second Committee Member to discuss your topic and project goals.

- Determine your schedule for the two semesters of thesis/creative project work and agree upon regular meeting times.

- This may be a working document that may be updated for significant changes. Review it with your committee on a regular basis.

The Institutional Review Board

All research activities involving the use of human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before data collection can begin. Investigators may not solicit subject participation or begin data collection until they have received written approval from the IRB.  Please discuss the need for IRB approval with the Director and visit this website.

Registration and Grading

Registration and Grading

To register:

- Be enrolled in Barrett, The Honors College and in academic good standing. 

- Have the approval of the faculty member who serves as the Director. 

- Complete Thesis Preparation Requirement

  • In-person Barrett thesis workshop
  • Online (via Blackboard) Barrett thesis workshop. Self-enroll- search words “Barrett Honors Thesis/Creative Project Online Workshop”
  • Major specific thesis preparatory workshop or course may be available in limited academic units.

Register for thesis/creative project credits through the department of the Director.  First, obtain override permission from the department of the Director during normal enrollment periods. 


Thesis Credits (up to 6 hours)

- 492 Honors Directed Study: taken in the first semester during research and creation of the project (not offered by all departments).

- 493 Honors Thesis: taken in the second semester for defense and completion of the project.  

- 492 and 493 are sequential and may not be taken in the same semester.  

- You must register for and successfully complete at least 493 (or its equivalent) to graduate from Barrett, The Honors College.


Grading the Thesis/Creative Project

When the thesis/creative project is completed and approved by the committee, the Director assigns a course grade. Criteria and evaluation for grading are determined by the Director and the standards of that academic discipline.   


Z grade

If you enroll in 492, the Director has the option of assigning a Z grade until the project is completed.

The assignment of a Z grade indicates that a project is in progress and delays placement of a final grade until completion. 



The Defense

- Submit final draft to the committee at least two weeks before the defense.  Allow time for revisions leading up to the defense.

- Presentation and summary of the thesis/creative project. Format, content, and length are determined by the Director and standards of the content area. Plan to review the origins of the project, its scope, the methodology used, significant findings, and conclusions. 

- Schedule defense and submit the Defense Reporting Form.

- All committee members must be physically present for the defense. 

- If part of a group, all group members must attend and present at the defense.

- Open to the university and Barrett community.

- Following the presentation, committee members will ask questions about issues raised in the work, choices made in the research, and any further outcomes.

- At the conclusion of the discussion, the committee will convene to provide an outcome that will determine next steps.


Thesis Outcomes


- Minor format/editorial corrections may be suggested.

- All committee members sign the Signature Title Page

Provisional Approval (Common outcome)

- More significant revisions required.

- Second and Third Committee Members (if applicable) make their recommendations and sign the Signature Title Page. Director approves revisions and provides final signature.

Not approved (Least common outcome)

- Basic design and/or overall execution of the thesis/creative project is significantly flawed.

- The Director and committee may continue working with the student to make major revisions. You should discuss this with committee and Honors Advisor about implications on Barrett graduation.



Use PDF iconthis checklist to stay on-track with the Barrett thesis/creative project guidelines.