Thesis Supervisor

Your choice of Honors thesis supervisor shapes how you personalize the final stages of your academic studies at UConn and in Honors. You will select a thesis supervisor who will work closely with you and serve as a scholarly guide throughout the development, implementation, and conclusion of your thesis project.

What does the thesis supervisor do?

Your thesis supervisor is an expert on your thesis topic and will work closely with you in all stages of your project. Your supervisor is an important mentor for the process of completing your thesis as well as your specific topic, but they are not expected to be knowledgeable about other aspects of Honors.

Your Honors advisor is generally not your Thesis Supervisor; both are important toward your completion of your Honors thesis. Your advisor is knowledgeable about Honors requirements for your major, but they may not know as much about your specific topic. Keep them informed throughout your thesis work, because your Honors advisor must approve both your Thesis Plan and your final thesis. Your Honors advisor will continue to provide advice and support in your final semesters, including your choice of coursework.

Your Honors advisor and your thesis supervisor may be the same person if (a) your thesis topic aligns with your Honors advisor’s research, or (b) your department’s policy is to switch your Honors advisor to your thesis supervisor.

Who can be a thesis supervisor?

Your official thesis supervisor must be a faculty member at UConn (including UConn Health or regional campuses). Assistant or Associate Professors in Residence can be thesis supervisors. Adjunct faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students may not serve as official thesis supervisors, although they may be directly and actively involved in your thesis process. Your Honors advisor will need to approve your selection of thesis supervisor.

You should consult faculty members and advisors in your field to find the best person to help guide you through the thesis process. Select someone you can envision working with for multiple semesters; this relationship is critical to the success of your thesis!

Tips for securing, retaining, and managing the relationship with your thesis supervisor:

  • Although your thesis timetable will differ based on your department, in general you should have secured a thesis supervisor no later than the 2nd semester of your junior year. For some majors, especially the sciences, thesis research arrangements should be made by the end of your sophomore year or very early in your junior year.
  • Use the steps in the suggested timeline to learn what faculty members in your department or related departments are working on.
  • Request a meeting to discuss shared interests and determine if the partnership is a fit. This in-person meeting is critical; don’t ask someone to be your thesis supervisor via email. Learn more about the best ways to connect with faculty.
  • During or after the meeting, confirm with the faculty member that they are willing to serve as your thesis supervisor. A faculty member who agrees to work with you on “Honors research” has not necessarily agreed to supervise your thesis!
  • Create a timeline with your thesis supervisor and set expectations for how often you will communicate and meet, as well as any internal deadlines.
  • Stay in touch with your thesis supervisor throughout the process. Stick to deadlines, but communicate and seek help when you need it.
  • Ask questions about your thesis, your field, and their journey in the field. Make the most of having this mentor.