Senior Honors Thesis

An honors program is available to IS majors who have demonstrated their ability to perform distinguished work. The Honors Thesis allows exceptional students in the undergraduate major to demonstrate the ability to treat a problem in a substantial and scholarly way.  Students write an honors thesis on a topic related to information science and defend it before a faculty committee.  They may graduate with honors or highest honors; this designation is printed on the final transcript and diploma.

Registering for an Honors Thesis at SILS

Registering for Honors at SILS requires an application. The application should be submitted to the Undergraduate Student Services Manager by April 1 during the year in which the student plans to register for INLS 691H.

To conduct an Honors Thesis in Information Science, students must complete INLS 691H (offered in the Fall) and INLS 692H (offered in the Spring).  To be considered for admission into this course of study, students must meet the following course requirements and submit an application.  

Course Requirements
The requirements for conducting an Honors Thesis in Information Science include having taken at least four INLS courses, including two numbered higher than 299, and having a total INLS GPA of at least 3.5.  The student should have an overall GPA of at least 3.3.

The application should consist of the following:
1.    A cover sheet, which can be downloaded here.
2.    A list of all courses taken by the student, along with the grades earned in those courses.  A print out from Carolina Connect is sufficient documentation.  Students are not required to request an official transcript from the registrar.
3.    A one-page proposal, including a one-paragraph description of the research topic, several questions related to the topic (i.e., what you want to discover or learn), and a short list of approximately five sources related to the topic.
4.    The name of a SILS faculty member the applicant would like to serve as his/her advisor.  (It is advisable for the student to talk this over with the faculty member first.) 
The advisor and the DUS, in consultation, will decide whether the student will be permitted to register for INLS 691H, and also whether the proposed advisor will serve as the Thesis Advisor.

Course Sequence

The honors program consists of two courses:  INLS 691H, Honors Research, and INLS 692H, Honors Thesis in Information Science.  INLS 691H will be taken in the fall of the senior year.  In this course, each student selects a research topic of interest, learns about research methods, and writes a research proposal.  Assuming satisfactory completion of INLS 691H, students register for INLS 692H in the spring of their senior year.  

Each student should select a thesis advisor based on mutual interest in the topic, and the availability of the faculty member to advise the student during the thesis work.  The student and advisor should meet regularly to discuss the student’s research and writing.  

By the end of January, the thesis committee should be formed. The thesis committee consists of:
  1. The student’s thesis advisor, chosen when submitting the Honors Thesis application 
  2. A second reader, identified jointly by the student and advisor, and
  3. The SILS Director of the honors program (Director of Undergraduate Studies)  

The thesis must be completed and circulated to the thesis committee by the end of March, and the oral defense of the thesis must take place in the middle of April (exact dates will be based on the registrar’s calendar for the year).  The final approved copies of the thesis must be submitted to the SILS office; the due date will be communicated to those in the honors program, and it is always before the end of the semester.

Students who complete a high-quality thesis will graduate with honors; those whose thesis is exceptional will graduate with highest honors.  The SILS Director of the honors program will assemble all thesis advisors and second readers to evaluate the theses to be considered for honors each year.

Examples of BSIS Honors Thesis titles from the past:

  • Student and Faculty Perceptions, Attitudes and Use of Wikipedia by Alexander Foley (BSIS '08)
  • Cognitive Strategies for Constructing and Managing Passwords for Multiple Accounts by Julia Kampov-Polevoi (BSIS '08)
  • Illusionary Privacy in the Digital Landscape:  Identity, Intellectual Property and Privacy Concern on Facebook by Elizabeth Lyons (BSIS '08)
  • PDA:  Personal Digital Assistant or Personally Distracting and Addicting? by Robert Shoemake (BSIS '09)
  • Information Overload in Undergraduate Students by John Weis (BSIS '09)
  • Faceted Search Implementation on Mobile Devices by Ashlee Edwards (BSIS '11)
  • Self-Initiated Search Versus Imposed Collaboration by Beth Sams (BSIS '11)
  • Building a Memory Palace in the Cloud: Instructional Technologies and the Method of Loci by Marla Sullivan (BSIS '12)

These titles are available in the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library.  Check out the UNC Library Catalog for more information.

For information and university guidelines on preparing your Honors thesis, please visit The Honors Program website.