Undergraduate Thesis Leading to Graduation with Honors Research Distinction


There are three options for honors students in the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) interested in pursuing graduation with honors research distinction or with honors distinction:

  • The graduation honor with honors research distinction in [the major field] recognizes those students who demonstrate excellence in the study of a discipline both through major course work and by completing an independent research project culminating in an undergraduate thesis.
  • Students majoring in mathematics may choose the graduate-level course work option to graduate with honors distinction in Mathematics.
  • The graduation honor with honors research distinction recognizes those students who complete and successfully defend an undergraduate thesis in a discipline other than the major.

Students majoring in the arts may pursue a creative project or thesis that leads to graduation with distinction.

For information about the thesis option for students not in an honors program, please see the Research Thesis web site.


To graduate with honors research distinction, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Identify an Ohio State faculty member to serve as your project advisor. The project advisor will provide guidance to you throughout the research process.

  • Submit the Thesis Application to the ASC Honors Office by the deadline noted below.

  • Complete a minimum of four semester credit hours of 4999H research credit in the relevant discipline.

  • Successfully defend the thesis during an oral examination.

  • Meet any department-specific requirements, which may include honors course work and/or a minimum grade point average within the field of distinction.

  • Graduate with a minimum 3.4 cumulative grade point average on at least 60 graded Ohio State semester credit hours. 

  • In order to graduate with honors research distinction, you must be enrolled in the ASC Honors Program, which requires completion of the honors course work requirement (fulfilled by completion of an approved Honors Curriculum).

***Thesis Option for students not in the ASC Honors Program***


If you are planning to graduate with honors research distinction, you should submit the Thesis Application to the ASC Honors Office upon enrolling in 4999H research credit and no later than the following deadlines:

  • Students defending Summer 2023:      Application due to ASC Honors by Friday, December 2, 2022

  • Students defending Autumn 2023:   Application due to ASC Honors by Friday, February 3, 2023

  • Students defending Spring 2024:    Application due to ASC Honors by Friday, September 8, 2023


Questions about the application may be directed to your ASC honors advisor or to Lindsey Chamberlain, thesis coordinator for the ASC Honors Program.

  • If you are working toward a thesis, it is your responsibility to register for 4999H. In some cases (e.g., in the Department of Psychology), the 4999H research hours are actual courses in a sequence and will require prior planning to make sure you are able to register in a timely fashion.

  • The number of research credit hours you take in a given semester will depend on the amount of time you plan to spend on your research during that term. You should plan to discuss this with your thesis project advisor.  Keep in mind that you will need to take at least 4 credit hours of 4999H to meet the requirements for a thesis.

  • Your thesis project advisor will need to provide written permission for you to register for 4999H. Permission to enroll in 4999H can be documented on a Course Enrollment Permission form [pdf]. You should submit the signed form to the Arts and Sciences Honors Office no later than the second Friday of the semester to have the hours added to your schedule.  (Late registration for research hours will result in a $100 Late Course Add Fee and may only be added by petition.)


Students who have submitted a Thesis Application for approval will be contacted by the ASC Honors Office with oral examination instructions early in the semester in which they plan to defend the thesis (usually around the third or fourth week of the semester).


Abstracts and copies of past undergraduate theses completed for graduation with research distinction are available for examination online through the Ohio State Libraries' Knowledge Bank and in the Mortar Board Room (room 202) of the Thompson Library. They are valuable not only as examples of research undertaken in various disciplines but also as sources of information.