Honors Thesis Preparation and Submission

    To graduate with Honors, you will need to write an Honors Thesis and have it signed by your thesis supervisor and the Microbiology Honors Advisor. Please follow the guidelines below.

    Thesis Sections

    Your thesis should have the general format of a scientific paper and should contain the following components in the order indicated below. Begin each section on a new page.

    • Title Page
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Materials and Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Acknowledgements
    • Literature Cited

    A combined Results and Discussion section is permissible, but must be approved by your thesis supervisor.


    Please use Times or Times New Roman with a font size of 12.

    Formatting of Title Page

    The UI Honors Program (UIHP) has instructions for formatting your Title Page; these can be viewed at http://honors.uiowa.edu/academicsdepartmental-honorshonors-thesis/thesis-requirements.

    Formatting of Abstract (Hard copy and electronic)

    The UIHP also has instructions for your thesis Abstract; these may be viewed at http://honors.uiowa.edu/academicsdepartmental-honorshonors-thesis/thesis-requirements. To assist you with formatting of your Abstract, please consult the Thesis Abstract Guidelines and Thesis Abstract Example.

    As of Fall Semester 2008, the UIHP requires that you submit an electronic copy of your Abstract for display on their website. You must therefore submit to UIHP an electronic copy that prints to produce exactly the hard copy submitted. The electronic version must be readable by Microsoft Word. It may be submitted on a disc or attached to an e-mail sent to honors-program@uiowa.edu.

    Approval of Title Page and Abstract by Microbiology and UI Honors Programs

    Before you seek the signature of your Honors Thesis Supervisor, take your Title Page and Abstract to the Microbiology Honors Advisor for his/her approval. Then submit these pages to Mary Uhl (UIHP, 420 BHC) for approval by the UIHP. It is recommended that you also bring a copy of both pages on a flash drive. If corrections are needed, you can make them in the Honors ITC (318 BHC) and resubmit the copies immediately, sparing you a second trip. To indicate UIHP approval, Mary will apply a signed seal to the Title Page to inform the Microbiology Honors Advisor that these requirements have been met. Please remember to give Mary an electronic copy of your approved Abstract on a disc or via e-mail. Finally, obtain the signatures of your Honors Thesis Supervisor and the Microbiology Honors Advisor.


    The length should be determined by you and your advisor. Although there is no page limitation, brevity is important in writing scientific papers.

    Page Margins for Remainder of Thesis

    All pages, except for the Title Page and Abstract, should have margins (top, bottom, left, and right) of 1.0".

    Page Spacing

    All pages, except for the Title Page, Abstract, and the legends to Tables and Figures, should be double-spaced.

    Tables and Figures

    Tables and Figures with relevant legends should NOT be provided as a collection at the end of the thesis. There are two acceptable ways to include them:

    • Method 1: Insert them into the thesis, printed one Table or Figure to a page along with relevant legends, immediately following first mention of that Table or Figure in the text.
    • Method 2: Embed Figures and Tables along with relevant legends within the text, close to first mention within the body of the text. Allow ample space between the embedded Figure or Table and the text.

    Whichever method you choose to use, make sure that you draw the reader's attention to a specific Figure or Table by inserting a "flag" within the text, e.g. "β-galactosidase levels were elevated in the mutant strain compared to the wild-type strain (Figure 1)".

    Page Numbering

    The Title Page should NOT be numbered. Use Arabic numerals for the remainder of the thesis, beginning with the Abstract as page 2. Number the pages centered at the bottom of each page. If you chose Method 1 above for insertion of figures and tables, don't forget that pages bearing these components should also be numbered.

    Preparation of Thesis for Submission

    Do not staple or punch your thesis pages in any way. The UIHP will bind your thesis for their library.

    Submission Deadline

    Please submit your thesis to your Honors Advisor no later than the last day of classes of the semester in which you intend to graduate (i.e., one full week before Commencement). This will allow the Advisor sufficient time to review your thesis before submitting it to the Blank Honors Center by the UIHP stated deadline (Wednesday of Finals Week).


    Please feel free to consult the Microbiology Honors Advisor at any time if you have any questions or concerns.