Thesis Projects

Thesis Projects 2013-2014

Form Download Guidelines / Procedure

December 2013 Graduation

  • Contract and Abstract: Sept. 3, 2013
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations: Oct. 4, 2013

May 2014 or August 2014 Graduation

  • Contract and Abstract: Nov. 22, 2013
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations: Feb. 21, 2014

December 2014 Graduation

  • Contract and Abstract: April 4, 2014
  • Thesis Project and Evaluations: Oct. 3, 2014


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.


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.