Honors in Computer Science
Computer Science Departmental Honors is a distinction granted to undergraduate students who exhibit academic excellence, a commitment to learning, and who complete a scholarly thesis paper on a topic in the field of Computer Science.
The process of researching, writing, and presenting a thesis provides the opportunity to
- explore an area of interest
- apply skills learned in other major classes
- work closely with faculty and other students
- contribute to a field of study
- gain and practice communication skills.
Your thesis is a significant project that will demonstrate to potential employers, grad school faculty, and others the type of work of which you are capable.
Students who would like to pursue departmental honors should submit an Honors Program Application to the CS Office (120 Deschutes) and firstname.lastname@example.org prior to registering for CS 401 Research or CS 403 Thesis. You will also need to have identified a CS faculty to be the primary thesis supervisor.
- CS and UO GPAs 3.5 or higher OR CS GPA 3.75 or higher and UO GPA 3.25 or higher (The CS GPA is recorded on your Duckweb degree guide. It summarizes the grades of all CS subject code major classes and Math 231 and 232).
- Completion of Intermediate Algorithms (CS 315) and C/C++ and Unix (CS 330)
- CS faculty primary thesis supervisor
- Maintain GPAs required for CS Departmental Honors application
- Complete 4-8 credits of CS 401 Research and/or CS 403 Thesis
- Thesis committee with at least two faculty members; primary supervisor must be a CS faculty member
- Complete, publicly present, and archive on the CS website a scholarly thesis approved by the faculty committee
How to Get Started
If you are eligible for and decide to pursue CS Departmental Honors, it is best to start thinking about a topic and an advisor as soon as you have completed CS 315 and 330, typically between Winter of the 3rd year and Fall of the 4th year. Typically a student will have an idea about one or more professors with whom they would like to work, or with whom they are already working. In this case, you should talk with the professor directly. Infrequently, a student may already have an idea of a topic they would like to explore. In this case, you should search for an advisor with expertise in your proposed thesis area and who is available to work with you. Students may also peruse available projects and faculty research areas and submit an application to be matched with a project. Finally, students may contact email@example.com for help getting started. The Research Opportunities page has more information about getting started with research.
Once you have identified a primary thesis supervisor you are ready to submit a CS Honors Program application [LINK TO UPDATED .PDF]. It is best to do this before you start your senior year so you are prepared to work on your thesis in your last year.
In addition to the primary supervisor you will need at least one other faculty member on your thesis committee. Your primary supervisor may be able to advise you about this. The second reader is usually, but is not required to be, from CS faculty.
Completing Your Thesis
Once your written thesis is completed and shared with your committee, you must schedule a public presentation of your thesis. The public presentation must be held no earlier than two weeks after your written thesis has been made available to your committee, and no later than the end of week 8 of spring term. The public presentation may be a conference presentation, including the UO Undergraduate Research Symposium, or an oral defense.
For an oral defense, you will work with your committee members to schedule a date, time, and room for a public presentation. Announcements should be posted at least a week ahead of time.
The exact nature of the oral defense is worked out in consultation with the thesis advisor. Usually the student will give a 25-35 minute presentation of their work, followed by questions the audience.
After the public presentation, the committee will meet to determine whether or not the thesis meets expectations, and inform the student. Note that a thesis may be tentatively approved pending completion of minor suggestions and edits. Final approval must be given before the end of week 10 of the term.
After the thesis has received final approval, it should be archived at the CS website, so as to share your contributions to Computer Science as widely as possible. Congratulations!