Undergraduate Thesis Requirements

The undergraduate thesis option allows students to gain first-hand experience in some facet of research. Credit is given to students upon successful execution of the research project and completion of the thesis. Working on a research project based on the OSU campus, or with a public institution or private industry researcher, enables a student to gain insight into research activities and to explore areas of interest. For students interested in pursuing graduate studies, it is a valuable means of identifying potential projects and areas of specialization.

Purpose of the Undergraduate Thesis

  1. Experience involvement in horticulture or related research.
  2. Gain insight into what is involved in planning and carrying out research studies.
  3. Learn laboratory techniques and/or skills related to field experiences.
  4. Develop self - confidence in applying academic knowledge.
  5. Become acquainted with knowledge related to an area of research involvement.
  6. Determine interest in seeking a graduate degree or work in a research area.
  7. Earn 6-12 credits toward graduation and fulfill a degree requirement.

Departmental Policies and Responsibilities

Students are required to fulfill a work experience of a minimum of 360 hours as part of their major requirements. Students must enroll in at least 6 credits of HORT 403, but may receive up to 12 credits if they so choose. The undergraduate thesis provides that experience for students interested in horticultural research. Students can complete an approved horticultural research project:

  1. within the Horticulture department
  2. within another OSU department
  3. with government research agencies
  4. as part of a private industry project

Before the student begins work, he or she submits the Statement of Intent Form to the Undergraduate Advisor for approval. Copies of the Statement of Intent form will stay on file with the Research Supervisor and in the student's academic file in the Advising Center.

Upon completion of the research project, the student completes an Undergraduate Thesis according to the Thesis Guidelines. The completed thesis will be evaluated (on an A to F basis) by the project supervisor. The student will decide when to schedule the credits for the thesis after consulting with the Head Advisor and supervisor.

Student Thesis Responsibilities

  1. Obtain a research position with assistance from the faculty and other students.
  2. Submit Statement of Intent Form for prior approval of proposed work.
  3. Provide own transportation and lodging if necessary during the work period.
  4. Apply themselves to the assigned research responsibilities, demonstrate a positive attitude, and conduct themselves accordingly befitting the program, Department of Horticulture, and Oregon State University.
  5. Use this experience to expand their knowledge of the research area as related to horticultural interests.
  6. Complete and submit all the required forms and documents: Provide the research supervisor with a Supervisor’s Evaluation of Student’s Performance Form; complete a Student’s Evaluation of Research Experience Form and prepare a written thesis as outlined in Thesis Guidelines.

NOTE: Students who quit early or are released from their employment will not receive credit.

Thesis Supervisor Responsibilities

  1. Provide the undergraduate student researcher with a meaningful work and learning experience. Provide initial instruction to give the student an overview and appreciation for the work to be done. Provide the student with an opportunity to work independently, yet be available for assistance as needed. Students should gain self - confidence in their abilities and the application of academic knowledge.
  2. Provide a reasonable wage for the work conducted. If necessary, assist with transportation as related to work activities.
  3. Complete and return the evaluation of the student's performance at the end of the work period. Maintain regular contact with the student during the work period as to the student's performance and comprehension of newly - learned skills and techniques.
  4. Make suggestions to the Department of Horticulture Thesis Coordinator for program improvements and implementation.

Examples of Thesis Work

  1. Participation in an on-going, long-term research program dealing with root initiation of rhododendron cuttings. The researcher in charge of the program has several short-term (3 to 6 months) experiments to be run in relation to long-term goals. The student is involved in planning, set-up, data collection, and data analysis of the short-term projects. The student works independently with supervision.
  2. Water conservation and weed control are important economic issues in all of agriculture. Research projects could involve a student in evaluating irrigation systems or various types of mulching materials.
  3. Landscape and turf maintenance involves many highly intensive practices. A student may wish to conduct a research project dealing with turf fertilizer trials, pesticide applications on woody landscape shrubs or monitor the effects of removing clippings or returning clippings to various turfgrass varieties.
  4. Many other projects can also be developed dealing with such things as pest control, sustainable systems, vineyards, small fruits, vegetables, and biotechnology. Consult with the Horticulture Advisor or someone doing the work that interests you, to explore the possibilities.