Is Writing an Undergraduate thesis a must?

author By Mary Boies

While thesis and dissertations are mostly a preserve for graduate and post-graduate studies, undergraduate students pursuing some programs might be required to complete an undergraduate thesis or dissertation to graduate.

An undergraduate thesis, senior thesis, or bachelor's dissertation is an extensive research paper written by a candidate for an academic degree. It entails original and in-depth research on a specific topic and generates knowledge in a particular field of interest. Such a paper has an average length of between 30-60 pages. It comes in the final year of study of a degree program.

When your undergraduate program mandates that you complete a thesis, it tests your ability to research, solve problems, think critically, and prepare for graduate studies (master, doctoral, and post-doctoral studies) in case you decide to advance your studies.

If this is the case, prepare to spend much of your time researching, organizing research, writing proposals, writing the chapters, and defending the thesis. Of course, the entire process depends on what your university prefers.

Given its rigorous nature, writing an undergraduate thesis or dissertation often scares many students. However, if you know the basics and have the right team, there is nothing to worry about. And that is pretty much why our paper writing service exists; to make writing papers easier!

Do Undergraduates write a Thesis Paper or Dissertation?

As we advance, we have to make it clear that the thesis we are referring to here is not the thesis statement, which is a concise description of the main argument of a paper. No, we are talking about an intensively researched and written report during the final year of the undergraduate degree program.

An undergraduate thesis differs from university to university. Some university departments prefer that senior-year students work on semester-long projects where they write a paper about 25-30 pages long that expands on a topic. Other departments have made it mandatory to take two senior seminars and complete a longer project at the end of the last senior year semester. Still, there are university departments that allow undergrad students to complete a year-long thesis where the students spend their entire final year intensively researching and writing about a topic of choice.

Back to answering the central question of whether you have to write a thesis for an undergraduate, we can say that you do not necessarily have to write a thesis for your undergraduate or bachelor�s degree in your final year if your degree program or university does not have that opening. However, if your university allows for that option for a specific course or major, you must complete a thesis project.

There are undergraduate courses like nursing, psychology, or business where students are instead required to write a course project or a capstone project. Besides, some institutions will substitute a thesis with doing more classes or working on fieldwork projects assessed in terms of the hours you take to complete each. In this case, you will then write a report with detailed logs of the work you completed daily.

Therefore, not all undergraduate students are required to write a thesis; it depends on institutional and departmental requirements. Given a choice, however, a thesis seems like a straightforward option because it sharpens your research and writing skills, which are essential as you advance academically.

Why Write an Undergraduate or Senior Thesis?

An undergraduate thesis is as important as the degree itself. It is part of the undergraduate research experience that you can put on your resume or list in your CV.

Apart from writing an undergraduate honors thesis as part of completing a bachelor's degree program, students write a thesis to engage in research, plan studies, organize the research, and write an extensive research paper that expands on a topic and contributes to knowledge.

Writing the thesis also allows students to advance their academic life. For instance, by extending the research, you can use your undergraduate thesis when writing your master's level thesis. You can also use the master's thesis topic in your doctoral dissertation if allowed.

Employers will also look at your thesis as an item in your portfolio, making hiring you easier and quicker. You also get an edge in advancing training and holding company leadership positions. An undergraduate or senior year thesis can open your professional doors earlier than you can imagine.

If you are pursuing business, leadership, social sciences, religious studies, and other majors that require a thesis, writing a good thesis is mandatory. Let's now discuss some steps you can follow to write the best thesis for your undergraduate and score an A.

Steps to Write the Best Undergraduate Thesis

Everyone likes to win, and for your undergraduate dissertation to attain top marks and grades, you must do it correctly. So, follow these steps to write a senior thesis that will pass with distinction. These are practical steps that helped our top experts ace their final year thesis papers, and they can work for you, too; they always do.

Read the requirements

An undergraduate thesis or honors thesis is a long research paper. Depending on the preferences of your department and supervisor, it could be anywhere from 30-60 pages in length. It could appear longer if you had never written a long paper before, you have the entire last year of your undergraduate studies to complete it, and you can also count on the guidance of your mentor or supervisor.

Sometimes, you might be required to collect actual data, analyze it, and write a paper. At the same time, other programs might only need you to synthesize an existing research topic and apply it to real-life situations. Finally, as part of the thesis writing process, you might be required to defend the thesis, like a viva voce in graduate thesis and doctorate dissertations, where you present the thesis to a panel of professors between one to two hours.

If this is not a requirement, you must submit a hard copy to your department for assessment and marking by either your supervisor or an external examiner. When working on your thesis, opt for the option that reduces your course load so that you have ample time to write your thesis. Also, you can take advantage of the pre-thesis seminars as they allow you to understand the research process.

To get a highlight of what is required, familiarize yourself with the requirements and ask questions so that everything is clear from the beginning.

Find A Supervisor

Comprehensive faculty research should set you in the right direction towards choosing a mentor or supervisor for your undergraduate thesis.

Check the credentials of the department's list of faculty members. You will find information about the research interests of each professor, and depending on yours, contact them for support.

If you notice that none of them is interested in your preferred area of study, you can write to the department's coordinator, who can recommend a supervisor for you.

Another way is to ask those who passed through your program for guidance on whom to choose and why. Social media makes this easy as students get to share their experiences; take advantage of this to help yourself.

With a potential fit, you can write an introductory email, share your interests, and walk the thesis writing journey.

When writing the email, make everything formal, explain your research interests, who referred you, theories, methodologies, or frameworks you are interested in, and ask for a one-on-one meeting.

A good professor, and they all always are, will either take you in or direct you to someone else in the department experienced in your topic or research area.

Select a good topic

Find a good topic for your undergrad thesis. Then, you can brainstorm topics based on your future career prospects, interests, and course contents.

Consider that one area that you are, maybe, interested in and choose a topic from it. When you select a topic that interests you, you will not sweat it when writing the paper. Instead, you will enjoy the entire process and write enthusiastically and with momentum.

You can consult with your supervisor if you notice that you are stuck with choosing a thesis topic.

After all, they are your mentor and should be there to answer any of your concerns. Moreover, they are the best bet to help you narrow down a topic.

You will be amazed at how they have a wealth of knowledge in research. Besides, consulting with a supervisor assures you that the journey ahead is manageable.

Negotiate the Grading System

You are not yet graded for your final thesis paper. This is good news because you can negotiate a grading scheme with your supervisor, one that is suitable for your project. You could be assigned marks for every step you take, including the meetings with your supervisor or when you submit milestone deliverables. Whatever the case, ensure you know how the supervisor will grade you. You can bring this discussion up during the first meeting. Understand how the grading system works and its pain points so you can plan well.

Write a Schedule

With everything at hand, write a schedule for handling the entire project. If you are conducting primary research involving human participants, ensure that you seek ethical approval early.

For instance, if you are a marketing student who will conduct research on people who are consumers, ensure that you get approval from the university ethics committee or the research ethics board. This should be part of the schedule. In addition, they will want you to describe the research methods and potential risks/benefits to the participants.

If your program and institution only need the supervisor for that approval, take advantage of it and have them push for quicker ethical approval. Ensure that you factor in everything. For instance, if you have to write a proposal before the thesis, schedule enough time for it. You can also consult your supervisor, who will advise you based on their experience.

Divide it into Chapters and Outline

When you break down a large chunk of work, you get to do it fast, efficiently, and with focus. Spare some of your time and divide the thesis project into chapters. Try to understand what the entire project needs to look like, then break it down into smaller sections. Use the undergraduate thesis template that describes the formatting, chapters, or sections to include. With 40-60 pages to complete, having an outline of the thesis will resoundingly relieve you from stress and writer�s block. It should act as a roadmap that allows you to complete each section. A basic outline would look like this:

  1. Title Page
  2. Introduction
  3. Background
    1. Problem statement
    2. Research question
    3. Research objectives
    4. History of the topic
    5. The contemporary context of the topic
  4. Conceptual Framework
    1. Methodology
    2. Assumptions
  5. Literature Review
    1. Findings from past research
    2. Research gaps
  6. Findings and Discussion
  7. Conclusion
  8. References
  9. Appendices

Research Widely and Deeply

With the undergraduate thesis outline ready, you can now further your research. The research should be more targeted since you have everything figured out which defines your scope. You can research as you write the literature review. The assumption is that you will get peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and other scholarly sources.

It should be as per the departmental preferences. Feel free to share your research journey with your peers, professor, and family members, for they can illuminate your point of view.

As you write the literature review, focus on the theories, main theorists, and structural frameworks, and find studies that have inspired your work. You should also identify the gaps in research that your research should address. Some supervisors would ask you to compile an annotated bibliography as a starting point for your thesis research process.

Write it chapter-by-chapter

An undergraduate thesis is not as intensive as a graduate-level thesis; it is meant to sharpen your research skills. You are learning the ropes in conducting academic research in preparation for future work.

Therefore, do not pressure yourself too much. If anything, you need to make it an interactive process. And you do not necessarily have to get it right on your first draft. So, like writing a research paper draft, focus on writing first and then editing later.

You will submit the first draft to the supervisor if they ask for it, which can be a line of defense when they point out grammatical errors in your first draft. After that, you can dedicate writing a page or two every day or the entire weekend to work on the thesis. Then, when you are done with the chapter drafts, send them to the supervisor to ensure you are on course.

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Revise, Edit, and Polish

With everything completely done at this point, edit your thesis for grammar. Again, you can use a professional editor or Grammarly to ensure your grammar is sound.

Proofread the entire dissertation as well to remove all mistakes and errors. Ensure that the format is also correct.

By default, it is an expectation that you will send your supervisor a draft before you begin editing. Therefore, this is where you can finalize addressing the feedback from your supervisor. In addition, we have a reliable proofreading and editing services team that you can count on if you need assistance.

Present your Research

As you edge closer to the end, you will have to present your thesis. Presenting should not worry you because different universities have different preferences. In most cases, your supervisor might ask you to prepare for a defense before a mini panel of professors. They can also save you time by allowing you to submit the thesis to a second reviewer in hardcopy. Other programs mandate presenting a poster at a campus research event or departmental seminar/conference.

The undergraduate thesis defense process should be more straightforward if you are good with the presentation. Otherwise, you must sharpen your oral and presentation skills and face the panel with enthusiasm and confidence. If your university allows, consider submitting the thesis to your peer-reviewed undergraduate journals or publications committee/librarians for publishing on the university thesis portfolio.

You will get a lot of exposure during the presentation. And it is the last bit before you graduate anyway.

Parting Shot!

Although you will whine, curse, and almost give up writing an honors thesis, it is a good experience that pays off in the end. You will learn many things and hone your research and writing skills. Besides, you will come out of it and decide what to do after graduation.

If you are pursuing majors such as criminology, criminal justice, law, philosophy, history, religious studies, sociology, political science, geography, or any other not mentioned here that mandates you to write a thesis, take advantage of it. You will gain a wealth of experience that will come in handy after you graduate.

To this end, your undergraduate dissertation or thesis should not worry you. Instead, use these steps and try every other thing you believe can make it a success. It can be a daunting experience, but that depends on your attitude from the onset. A pinch of dedication, determination, and enthusiasm is all you need.

And now, let us leave you with these nuggets of wisdom and wish you well. If you need help, we are here to help you walk the thesis writing journey.

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