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University Designated Undergraduate Thesis


To establish the criteria for a university-designated undergraduate thesis at KU

Applies to: 

Undergraduates on the KU Lawrence Campus and all reporting units

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 

A university-designated undergraduate thesis is completed by enrolling in a departmental thesis course, doing a research or creative project, creating a written document, presenting about the project, and submitting the thesis to the University via KU ScholarWorks. Ku academic department can decide whether they would like to offer a university-designated thesis for their students.

The following aspects are for individual academic departments to determine:

  • Whether or not an undergraduate thesis is an option for their majors
  • Whether or not an undergraduate thesis is tied to their departmental honors requirement
  • Who may serve as an advisor for the undergraduate thesis
  • Whether there are any GPA eligibility requirements to complete a thesis
  • Whether the undergraduate thesis should involve a committee or review from an individual advisor.
  • Deadlines for turning in a thesis to the department

If the undergraduate thesis is offered as an option, a clear description of the necessary steps should be available to students via departmental website and advising materials.

There is no university requirement linking the completion of the undergraduate thesis to departmental honors. Departments that would prefer to tie thesis completion to departmental honors may do so, and likewise, departments wishing to separate the undergraduate thesis and departmental honors may do so.

The following are required for departments choosing to offer a university-designated undergraduate thesis:

  • Designated Course(s):  A designated undergraduate thesis course(s) to be used for enrollment of students completing an undergraduate thesis.  Students completing the undergraduate thesis must complete a minimum of 3 credit hours of a designated undergraduate thesis course(s). These designated course(s) can be variable credit completed over multiple semesters.
  • Written Product: The undergraduate thesis will be a written product and it should include an abstract as a part of the product. However, departments should determine any specific requirements related to the format of this written product. Some departments may request publication quality or journal article formats for this document, while in other fields where performance or exhibition is a key piece of the undergraduate thesis process, the written product may be much shorter.
  • Public Presentation: Completion of the undergraduate thesis will include a public presentation.  A public presentation can include presenting at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, department colloquia or professional conference.  
  • KU ScholarWorks: Undergraduate theses will be deposited in KU ScholarWorks. Departments may set a deadline each semester for submission of undergraduate theses. Exceptions can be made at the department level for projects whose results may not be shared due to funding and/or publication embargoes. 

Center for Undergraduate Research
Strong Hall, Room 151
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Effective on: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Undergraduate Thesis
Change History: 

11/27/2017: Faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and several professional schools were organized as a work group to review the current practices pertaining to the undergraduate thesis. The policy was drafted by the Center for Undergraduate Research in consultation with this faculty work group. The College’s Committee on Undergraduate Studies (CUSA) has formally endorsed this policy proposal.

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