Bachelor’s Essay Student Workflow

Honors College

This workflow is designed to provide you with a workflow process to follow as you plan your senior thesis (the bachelor’s essay). This is a six credit project completed over two semesters (the six hours of credit assumes that the student completes approximately 10 hours of engagement in the project per week). It should be a project that reflects the scholarly and/or creative work of the discipline.

We strongly advise you to approach a faculty advisor at least one semester before their project is scheduled to begin. You should bring a short (one page) project description accompanied by a bibliography/list of materials to the meeting. Generally, it is advisable to register for the project through the departmental 499
(e.g., PSYC 499, BIOL 499). However, in cases where a project is interdisciplinary or where the student would like to complete a project outside of the major, you may petition to complete the project as an HONS 499.

Remember, faculty do not get paid for directing seniors theses. Therefore, it is vital to approach someone with whom you have an existing relationship in a timely manner to demonstrate that you are serious about the project. Most departments also have guidelines about how many students any one faculty member should supervise, as well as policies about how to manage bachelor essay proposals. In all cases, the Honors College supports these departmental standards.

The workflow below is designed to give you a workflow process to help you compartmentalize things.

1. First, write up your project description and compile your list of sources/materials.

2. Check with your department to see if there is an official application process for the BE. Some departments (like English and History) require students to write a proposal, while others simply require the approval of the department chair. Any departmental processes must be completed before you begin the individual enrollment form.

3. This next step is the most important of all; choosing a faculty member to lead your project. Our advice is to (1) approach someone you already know whose
(2) research specialty is related to your project. By approaching an advisor early with a written proposal, you greatly increase the chances that they will say yes.

4. Complete the individual enrollment form for the BE. This form contains instructions for the supporting information that must be submitted with your application. You must attach a completed syllabus with specific learning outcomes and the student must provide a degree audit. Only faculty have access to this form, so you will fill it out with your advisor.

5. The deadline for individual enrollment courses is usually about three weeks into the semester. So if you were signing up a student to begin the BE in the fall, you would need to have everything done by the end of the first week in September.

6. You and your advisor will need to set up a regular schedule of meetings in order to monitor progress. What this schedule looks like will depend on your discipline and the nature of the project.

7. ADDENDUM: off-campus projects. Many students use research they have done off-campus (at MUSC, for example) as their BE project. If you are in this situation, the registration process is slightly different. You may work with a non-CofC faculty member, but you must identify a CofC faculty member in the same field to actually sign you up for the 6 credits of senior thesis. This requires you to do a bit of triangulation between your two advisors. The “on-site” advisor is actually leading your project and doing the grading, but the “CofC” advisor has to help you complete the paperwork and enter the grades for you.

8. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Ganaway at