Guidelines for Thesis Advisors

1. General Comments

The thesis advisor wears many hats.

First and foremost, the advisor models the process of academic inquiry for the student. It is largely through the advisor that the student learns to frame a question, to troubleshoot problems, to celebrate unexpected findings, and to produce a paper which effectively relays the discovery. The advisor should help the student meet deadlines imposed by the Honors Program. Students often find it difficult to pace themselves in a project which spans an entire calendar year, and the advisor should help the student set intermediate deadlines.

Additionally, the advisor is responsible for ensuring the quality of the project. If the project faces insurmountable obstacles, the advisor should end the project. Finally, the advisor provides moral support, encourages in the face of setbacks.

2. The Thesis

First-time advisors often question what degree of rigor is required of an Honors thesis. As the name implies, it is a baccalaureate level thesis, not merely an extended term paper. It may be thought of as a process similar to a master’s project but pitched to the undergraduate. See “Overview of Honors by Major” for specific guidelines on what constitutes an appropriate Honors project in each academic discipline.

3. Administrative Issues

Scheduling Honors I: The Honors Thesis Proposal, signed by both the student and the advisor, must be submitted to the Honors Program Director no later than two weeks before registration. The thesis advisor must inform the department chair that Honors I be added to the list of the department’s course offerings. The Records Office provides the department Chair with the appropriate form.

Grading: The thesis advisor is responsible for assigning a grade for Honors I and Honors II. While there may be a tendency to give the student an “A” for effort, please consider the following in assigning grades: To what extent was the student’s work truly “original” vs. implementing the ideas of the advisor? How well did the student complete the assigned tasks? Did the student complete assignments by the agreed upon time? How successfully did the student incorporate the advisor’s suggestions during the different stages of the process – researching, writing, and revising?

4. A Final Word to Advisors

Thank you for your time and your commitment. While you could be seeking your own objectives, you have chosen to mentor a student’s intellectual pursuit. Undertaking this role indicates the value you place on working with students who are enthusiastic about learning. The impact you have on your Honors student both personally and scholastically is profound.

Research and Presentation Grants

The Honors Committee is pleased to announce financial grants to enhance the Millsaps Honors experience. Two types of grants are available to all Honors students and will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applications will be evaluated by the Honors Committee with priority given to projects which can be significantly enhanced with the funds. Successful applications will generally be funded in the $250-$750 range.

Junior Honors Research or Artistic Funding Grants

These grants may cover research-related expenses that aid in realizing the stated objectives. These expenses may include but are not limited to travel, meal, and hotel expenses for trips specifically related to the stated objectives, project supplies, copyright/patent costs, permissions, photocopying, transparencies, photographs, mailing, faxing, relevant membership fees, proofreading and indexing, printing (e.g. of survey instruments), subject payment and conference calls, etc. Books and software essential to research projects may be purchased if this is the most cost-effective way to achieve results. Equipment purchases such as computers and microscopes will not be funded. The deadline for applications for a Junior Research or Artistic Funding Grant is February 15 of the spring semester. Funds must be used by September 1 and reimbursement requested by September 15 of the fall semester.

Senior Honors Conference Travel Grants

These grants will support student travel to professional conferences at which the student will present Honors work. Reimbursable expenditures include travel, meal, and lodging accommodations. Applications for Senior Conference Travel Grants are due the Wednesday after Fall Break. All travel must be completed by May 15 of the senior year.

A student may receive both a Junior Research Grant and a Senior Conference Travel Grant.

Criteria for Grants

In order to be considered, a grant proposal must include the following:

  • A description of a well-developed project with concrete, realizable objectives and the status of the project to date. This should include a brief justification of budget items and the funding’s importance to the project.
  • A time line for expenditure of funds.
  • An itemized budget which estimates specific reimbursable costs and names the total sum requested.
  • A statement evaluating the request from the student’s Honors advisor. In the case of a Travel Grant, the faculty statement should include an assessment of the student’s potential for being accepted as a presenter.

Please contact Dr. Alex Rice, Honors Program Director, with any questions. Applications are due to Dr. Rice by the deadlines listed above. Please submit electronic copies.

Grant Guidelines


You may receive an advance for funds up to the full amount of your grant; however, you are personally responsible for spending the funds correctly and turning in receipts to account for all the funds. To receive an advance, complete an Advance Request form and attach your funding letter (or email) before submitting it to the Honors Program Director for approval. The Academic Dean’s office will not accept your request without the director’s approval. After you have completed your research or purchased necessary supplies, follow the steps below.

After you have completed your research or purchased necessary supplies, follow the steps below.

1. Complete the Travel Expenditure Form or the Accounts Payable Voucher (non-travel related expenses) and submit it to the Honors Program Director along with dated receipts.

a. Include a check for the amount to be returned for unused funds.

b. You must submit a receipt for every purchase.

2. The Honors Program Director approves the reimbursement and forwards the request to the Academic Dean. The Dean’s office will clear the receipts. All receipts must be turned in by the Sept. 15th deadline.


You may request your grant funds as a reimbursement without requesting an advance. After you have completed your research or purchased necessary supplies, follow the steps below. Complete the Travel Expenditure Form or the Accounts Payable Voucher (non-travel related expenses) and submit it to the Honors Program Director, along with dated receipts.

a. No reimbursement will be made without receipts.

b. You must attach your funding letter (or email) to your request for reimbursement.

1. The Honors Program Director approves the reimbursement and forwards the request to the Academic Dean.

2. The Academic Dean countersigns and forwards the paper work to the Business Office who issues the reimbursement check.

Rules to remember

  • Grants cover expenses incurred between January 1 and September 15. All requests for reimbursement must be made by September 15.
  • Expenditures must be consistent with those outlined in the original application for funding.
  • Because of the paperwork involved, save receipts until you have at least $40 in expenditures before requesting a reimbursement.

What’s reimbursable?

  • Justifiable expenses outlined in proposals are generally reimbursable. Speak with your advisor or the Honors Program Director if there are questions about an expense. A good rule of thumb is “If it seems unreasonable, it probably is.”
  • Remember that travel-related expenses can include airport parking fees and taxi fees. Car travel is reimbursed at a mileage rate of 55.5 cents per mile.
  • Meals associated with travel can be reimbursed (within reason). The College will not fund any expenditures on alcohol.

NOTE: Advances/Reimbursements may take up to two months to receive due to processing through multiple offices.

For more information, visit Accounts Payable.

Please contact the Honors Program Director with any questions.