Thesis Projects

Thesis Projects / Graduating with Distinction

Form Download Guidelines / Procedure

December 2017 Graduation Deadlines

  • Contract and Abstract:
    April 3, 2017
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations:
    Oct. 2 2017

May 2018 or August 2018 Graduation Deadlines

  • Contract and Abstract:
    Nov. 20, 2017
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations:
    Feb. 16, 2018

December 2018 Graduation Deadlines

  • Contract and Abstract:
    April 16, 2018
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations:
    Oct. 1, 2018

Guidelines

Graduation with distinction is an award intended to honor those students who have truly distinguished themselves academically. Accordingly, the thesis project should be substantially more extensive than a term paper. It must be the result of independent, sustained thought, and intellectual curiosity. A survey of the literature about a particular topic is not sufficient. All of the following elements are required: 1) a clear formulation of a problem, question, or project; 2) a scholarly study which illuminates it, and 3) a conclusion supported by evidence. In addition, the thesis should be well written, carefully proofread, and well presented. A bibliography and reference to existing literature in the field should be included where appropriate. An abstract consisting of no more than one page must be included at the front of the thesis. Although it is understood that students may produce thesis projects that are highly specialized, please keep in mind that final evaluation of thesis projects will be conducted by a committee consisting of faculty and students from different disciplines. As such, students are encouraged to write in a manner and style that can be understood by a non-specialist in the field, or, at the very least, define the discipline-specific terms you use.

Because of the wide variety of activities (e.g., producing art, composing music, writing scripts, in addition to traditional scholarly study) in which students are engaged in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, we acknowledge the possibility that a thesis project in our college might not conform to the conventional definition of a “thesis.” The following are examples of previous thesis projects: 1) the arrangement of a particular symphony and a detailed description of the process of composing arrangements with literary references, 2) the creation of a portfolio of photographic works accompanied by a lengthy historical analysis, 3) a complete set of costume designs with detailed information about the design, research and garment building process and photographs of the realized costumes. The project must have a significant written component, but it need not be in the format of a conventional formal thesis.

Procedure

Given the amount of work (including research and writing) that a thesis project entails, along with the fact that the submission deadlines fall near the middle of the semester, it is highly unlikely that a student can produce an acceptable thesis in one semester. For this reason, students are urged to start thinking and consulting with faculty about their thesis projects in their junior year. Students who elect to work on a thesis project should make concrete arrangements with a faculty member who will supervise the project before their senior year. This supervisor is expected to offer guidance to the student throughout the duration of the project. A student must register (either in their final semester when the thesis will be submitted, or earlier) for 499H credit in their major area of study. Students must also submit a completed Thesis Project Contract and Abstract to the Dean’s Office (102 Woods Art Building) by the appropriate deadline listed above. Before the thesis submission deadline, students must ensure that they provide copies of their theses and the Thesis Project Evaluation Form to both their thesis supervisor and their second reader. It is the responsibility of the faculty members in their evaluations to address specifically the extent to which the thesis project meets the three required elements listed above. Thesis projects and faculty evaluations must be submitted to the departmental/school chair/director by the appropriate deadline listed above. The unit heads signify departmental/school approval by forwarding the thesis project and faculty evaluations to the Associate Dean. Thesis projects not meeting the approval of the department will not be sent forward to the Dean’s Office for further consideration. The College Academic Distinction and Awards Committee conducts the final evaluation of thesis projects and makes determinations about graduation with distinction. The Academic Distinction and Awards Committee will not consider materials submitted after the stated deadlines. Students in the UNL Honors Program may submit the same thesis project to the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and to the Honors Program.

Graduating with Distinction

In recognition of outstanding academic excellence, the College recommends the bachelors degree With Distinction, With High Distinction, and With Highest Distinction. The recommendations are made by the Academic Distinction and Awards Committee. To be recommended for distinction, candidates must fulfill the specific criteria for Highest Distinction, With High Distinction, or Distinction, as described below, in addition to all of the general criteria and procedures applicable to all distinction classifications. The thesis project must be acceptable to the College Committee as well as the departmental committee.

Highest Distinction

Candidates for the bachelors degree may be recommended for Highest Distinction on the basis of the following criteria: outstanding scholastic standing (a cumulative GPA above 3.9 as of the semester preceding graduation) and the highest recommendation based upon a thesis project or comparable creative effort.

High Distinction

Candidates for the bachelors degree may be recommended for High Distinction by fulfilling one of two sets of criteria: 1) by achieving outstanding scholastic standing (a cumulative GPA above 3.9 as of the semester preceding graduation), or 2) by achieving excellent scholastic standing (a cumulative GPA above 3.8 as of the semester preceding graduation) and by receiving a high recommendation based on a thesis project or comparable creative effort.

Distinction

Candidates for the bachelors degree may be recommended for degrees for Distinction by achieving one of two sets of criteria: 1) by excellent scholastic standing (a cumulative GPA above 3.8 as of the semester preceding graduation), or 2) by achieving high scholastic standing (a cumulative GPA of 3.5 as of the semester preceding graduation) and by receiving a recommendation for distinction based on a thesis project or comparable creative effort.

Criteria

The following criteria apply to all categories: a recommendation for distinction on the basis of GPA alone (for Distinction or High Distinction) should not be considered automatic. In reviewing candidates, a consideration of the GPA is followed by an evaluation of the transcript, which includes: the general quality and breadth of the program, the quality of any transfer credit hours, the number of 300/400-level courses, the number of courses taken P/N, and the number of courses retaken to remove D grades. Students must remove all incompletes by the end of the 8th week of classes in the term preceding graduation in order to be considered for recognition. In addition, ordinarily only students who have taken their last 48 hours of graded course work while registered in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts are considered. Consequently, it is possible for a student to have a GPA above the cut-off point and still not receive a recommendation for distinction. Also, graduation with any level of distinction is not automatic with the submission of a thesis project (a requirement for a degree with Highest Distinction, and an option for degrees with High Distinction or with Distinction). It does, however, make a student eligible to be considered for graduation with such honors.