Thesis Timeline

Senior/Honors Thesis Timetable

You can download a PDF of the file here: thesis_plan_and_timeline.pdf

Spring Quarter (Junior Year)

By Week 5:

You should have met with

  • Amy Lowrey to discuss requirements and GPA for a senior thesis/honors thesis
  • RST Department Chair to discuss the senior Thesis
  • Identify and meet with a faculty adviser to supervise your thesis.

By Week 7

  • You should have written up a 200-300 word thesis proposal of your proposed project. This project must be conceived in consultation with your potential thesis supervisor. Typically, the thesis proposal should include
    • The central question(s) you plan to investigate
    • Potential Sources
    • A proposed timeline for the research
  • Submit an electronic copy of the thesis proposal to Amy Lowrey and to the RST Department Chair

By Week 9

The Department will review the thesis proposal and provide suggestions/approval of the thesis topic

Week 10

Meet with your thesis supervisor to discuss your research plans for the summer.


In preparation, read the The Craft of Research

Fall Quarter (Senior Year): Research

Week 1

  • Meet with Amy Lowrey to register for Thesis Units
  • Meet with your faculty adviser and get your thesis form signed
  • Return the form to Amy Lowrey so you can receive your CRN

Week 2-9

  • Research Session with the Library Research Staff on how to conduct research. All thesis students are expected to make an appointment and attend a session.
  • Conduct research on senior thesis
  • You should have completed all the research and reading for the thesis by the end of the fall quarter
  • You should plan on meeting with your faculty adviser at least once a week during the fall quarter to discuss your research and your progress on the thesis
  • Produce an abstract and an annotated bibliography
  • We will plan a minimum of two meetings with the Senior Thesis Adviser in the fall term.
  • Submit abstract to the National Undergraduate Research Conference. Deadline is usually first week of December, but students interested in presenting at NCUR, should plan on submitting their abstracts by mid-October (

Winter Quarter (Senior Year): Writing

Week 1

  • Meet with Amy Lowrey to register for Thesis Units
  • Meet with your faculty adviser and get your thesis form signed
  • Return the form to Amy Lowrey so you can receive your CRN

Week 2-9

  • Begin writing your thesis
  • Submit abstract for the Undergraduate Research Conference.
    • All RST senior thesis writers are expected to present at the URC
    • The abstracts are generally due in early February
    • Work on your abstract with your faculty adviser and ensure that you complete all required paperwork so that your paper may be receive full consideration. Incomplete applications to the URC are automatically disqualified.
  • The thesis is approximately 25-40 pages, although some students have written a longer thesis
  • You should have a draft of your completed thesis by Week 8 of the winter quarter
  • Your faculty adviser will provide feedback for revisions etc. by the end of Week 10.

Spring Quarter (Senior Year): Submission

  • Meet with Amy Lowrey to register for units (Independent Study units)
  • Meet with your faculty adviser and get your thesis form signed
  • Return the form to Amy Lowrey so you can receive your CRN

Week 3: Student turns in complete draft to thesis adviser and notifies the RST Senior Thesis Adviser.

Week 5: Thesis adviser suggests any revisions necessary.

Week 5-7: Undergraduate Research Conference presentation (10 minute presentation, 5 minutes of questions)

Week 7: Student completes revisions and submits a final copy to the thesis adviser. The thesis should be formatted as follows:

double-spaced in with one-inch margins on each side, a title page, page, a table of contents, footnotes or endnotes in the format agreed upon with the thesis adviser, and a bibliography in the format agreed upon with the thesis adviser.

In case of an Honors Thesis, the thesis adviser (in consultation with the Department Chair) will find a second reader for the thesis to determine if the thesis is eligible for Honors, High Honors or Highest Honors.

Week 8: Based on the second reader report, the thesis adviser recommends a thesis grade to the Chair of the Department.

Students will present their thesis at an Undergraduate Research Conference (10 minute presentations, 5 minutes of questions)

Week 9: The director reviews the readers' reports and the thesis adviser's recommendation and assigns Honors, High, Honors, Highest Honors, or no honors based on the GPA and the recommended thesis grade.

Week 10: Honors Thesis receiving Highest Honors will be made available online on the RST Department Website.

Students should also plan on submitting their thesis to the following UC Davis Research Publications:

Prized Writing

Explorations: The UC Davis Undergraduate Research Journal (

Deadlines vary, but the spring deadline is generally during finals’ week.

Students should also plan on applying for the Undergraduate Research Prize

Note: Students undertaking a thesis but who plan to graduate early should meet with Amy Lowrey and the Faculty Adviser to discuss an amended time-table.