Research Distinction (Research Thesis)

If you are planning to enroll in 4999 and graduate with research distinction, you should submit the Application for Graduation with Research Distinction no later than the following deadlines:

  • Students graduating Spring 2024: Application due by Friday, October 6, 2023
  • Students graduating Summer 2024: Application due by Friday, December 1, 2023
  • Students graduating Autumn 2024: Application due by Friday, February 9, 2024

Questions about applying after the deadline may be directed to Ed Quinn (

There are three options for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) interested in pursuing graduation with research distinction or with distinction:

  • Graduation with research distinction in [the major field] recognizes those students who demonstrate excellence in the study of a discipline both through major course work and by completing an independent research project culminating in a thesis.
  • Students majoring in mathematics may choose the graduate-level course work option to graduate with distinction in mathematics.
  • Graduation with research distinction recognizes those students who complete and successfully defend a thesis in a discipline other than the major.

For information about the honors thesis option for students in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program, please see the website for the Honors Research Thesis.

To graduate with research distinction, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • A student may complete a thesis within his/her major or in other disciplines, provided the student has a faculty research advisor serving as his/her project advisor (the faculty research advisor may be tenure-track, clinical, research, or auxiliary faculty). Lecturers and others who do not have tenure-track faculty status may not serve as the designated project advisor.
  • Submit the application at least one term before your graduating term.
  • Apply to graduate, early in your final term, with your academic advisor.
  • Complete a minimum of 60 graded hours at Ohio State.
  • Complete a minimum of 4 semester hours (a maximum of 10 hours) of 4999 research credit in the relevant discipline.
  • Successfully defend the thesis during an oral examination, typically in the final term.
  • Meet any department-specific requirements, which may include a minimum grade point average within the field of distinction.
  • Graduate with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

A co-signer from the major department will be required only if the project advisor is affiliated with a college outside of Arts and Sciences, OR if the project advisor is affiliated with a department outside of the department of distinction. The co-signer should be either the departmental advisor or the chair of the department. Students pursuing distinction in an interdisciplinary major (e.g. International Studies, Comparative Studies, etc.) will most likely require a co-signer. NOTE: If you are a Neuroscience major, you must have a Neuroscience advisor co-sign for your research project.

Honors Thesis Option for students in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program

Questions about the application may be directed to Ed Quinn ( in Arts and Sciences Academic Enrichment.

Abstracts and copies of past honors theses completed for graduation with research distinction are available for examination online through the Ohio State Libraries' Knowledge Bank and in the Mortar Board Room (room 202) of the Thompson Library.

They are valuable not only as examples of research undertaken in various disciplines but also as sources of information.

Undergraduate Research Office - Information and resources on finding and managing research projects

ASC Undergraduate Research Scholarship - Information on scholarships for undergraduate research projects

Denman Undergraduate Research Forum - Showcase of student research

Graduating with Distinction in the Arts

The Arts Distinction recognition is for students who are pursuing a degree in the Arts (Art, Art Education, Arts Management, Dance, Design, Film Studies, History of Art, Moving-Image Production, Music, Theatre).

Students earning the distinction are required to complete a creative project or a research project during the last year of their major program. A faculty project advisor is responsible for overseeing the entire project. The student and faculty member should establish mutually acceptable guidelines for frequency of consultation, submission of preliminary drafts, and deadlines for submitting work. When the faculty member and the student determine that the project is complete, the student will schedule the oral defense examination. The exam committee includes the faculty project advisor and two tenure-track faculty members. In most cases, completion of the thesis and oral examination will take place during the semester in which the student graduates.

Distinction candidates earn ‘with Distinction in [the major field].’ Distinction candidates in Arts Honors earn ‘with Honors Distinction in [the major field].

If you need further information, please contact Ed Quinn at


  • Students graduating Autumn 2023: Application due by Friday, February 3, 2023
  • Students graduating Spring 2024: Application due by Friday, September 22, 2023
  • Students graduating Summer 2024: Application due by Friday, December 1, 2023

Questions about applying after the deadline may be directed to Ed Quinn (