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Senior Thesis 2022-23: Honors Guidelines

Checklist for Key Due Dates and Requirements

Theses are due on Reading Day, May 10

This page details many different aspects and policies related to theses. Focus on the information in this box and continue down if you have further questions. Please don't hesitate to get in touch via chat or email. Please follow these steps for submitting your thesis. 

1. Download and begin using the Thesis Template for Word. (If you're writing in LaTeX, contact Amy Blau,, for a LaTeX template.) See the thesis template box below for more guidance.

2. Submit a final Word draft to the library for approval or come to the library for in-person approval. We can work with you in person before the 9th.

3. Once you have received approval, you will get the link to submit a pdf/a version through the digital submission form. If you are writing in Overleaf, contact Amy Blau ( for information on saving it as a PDF/A.

4. Once your final thesis has been approved, you will receive an email to electronically sign the following:

  • A signed non-exclusive distribution license (linked PDF is an example of this form, you will fill in the specific boxes through DocuSign). Both you and your advisor must initial the license AND embargo option you select and sign the form. See the distribution license box below for more information.
  • A certificate of approval form signed by thesis advisor. This will be extracted from the PDF you submit.

5. If you are choosing open-access and would like a copy of your thesis bound and put in the Allen Reading Room, you will print a copy at the Thesis Printer on archival paper supplied by the library on the public access computers by the WCTS desk.

Distribution License and Access

The Library acquires copies of honors theses and reports on honors research projects to serve the needs of students and faculty at Whitman College, to provide access to Whitman College student scholarship outside the Whitman community, and to ensure that these original works are available to researchers for consultation in the future. The guidelines are to be followed by the students in the preparation of their honors theses.

You are only required to submit a digital copy of the thesis and once that is accepted, you will be emailed a link to electronically sign the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and your advisor will sign the certificate of approval page extracted from your submitted PDF/A. The distribution license requires you to pick which level of access you are providing to your work:

  1. Open: Worldwide distribution via the Internet, or
  2. Limited: Local distribution only to authorized users of Whitman’s network (current faculty, staff, and students), or
  3. Opt-out: Not available to anyone (but still deposited). This is intended for cases where the topic or the treatment of the topic are sensitive or should not be shared

If the thesis is co-authored, it is the responsibility of the primary author to notify all other authors, even those not earning honors designation. It is strongly encouraged that additional authors and/or thesis advisors sign the non-exclusive distribution license. If applicable, all thesis co-authors and thesis advisor(s) should sign the same license. The non-exclusive distribution license must be submitted with signatures to the Library by May 10th.

Printed Version

If you have chosen open access to your thesis, you are welcome to choose to have your thesis bound and shelved in the Allen Reading Room. This copy will be added to the Library’s circulating collection and be made available for circulation to other libraries through interlibrary loan. Be sure that your final printed thesis conforms to the formatting guidelines. Your printed copy is due to the library by May 10th. It must be printed on archival paper, supplied by the library. Printing happens at the thesis printer on the public access computer desks by the WCTS desk.

Honors Thesis Template

For honors theses, certain structural elements are required, such as the title page, certificate of approval, table of contents, etc. These requirements are laid out on the formatting page. You have the option to use a formatted thesis template which includes the required elements and is designed to facilitate proper formatting and pagination in Microsoft Word. Please consult with librarians if departmental guidelines differ from formatting requirements outlined on the formatting page. Use of the template is highly recommended.

For a short guide to using the thesis template, consult our guidelines. For detailed instructions for common issues, consult our help page.

If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can download it from Office 360 website. As a Whitman student, you can log in with your Whitman email and password and download Microsoft Office on up to five computers and five mobile devices. If you do not want to download Office/Word, you can also use Word Online, log in with your Whitman Email address and password and upload the template there. For more information, please contact WCTS.

Personal Bound Copies

No matter what distribution access you have chosen, students desiring to have personal copies of theses bound at their expense can order copies for $22 each, including tax and shipping. There is no limit to the number of personal copies you may order. Make sure that your left margins are set to 1 ½” for the printed copy, otherwise the binding might cover some of your thesis.

To order bound copies, please fill out the online order form by May 12, 2023 (form will open closer to Reading Day). Bring a printed copy (or however many you're ordering of your thesis to Penrose 213). These are not on the special paper, you can print them at the print shop, but not double sided.

Payment can be made by charge to your student account or by check mailed in (made out to “Penrose Library, Whitman College”).


If you are the author of all the text, image, audio, and/or video files contained in your honors thesis, you hold copyrights and can grant full permission to post a digital copy online. If portions of your materials have been produced by others, these portions must be in the public domain or fall within the parameters of fair use. If the material does not fall within either of those categories, authors must receive permission from the copyright owner to include that material in their digital thesis. If you are unable to get permissions, consider restricting access to Whitman-affiliates only. For more information, see the library’s tutorial on copyright at Whitman.


Forms and Instructions


Presubmission form

Certificate of Approval Form

Non-Exclusive Distribution License

Personal bound copy order form (will open toward the end of April)


Honors Thesis Template (MS Word). The thesis template is optional but highly recommended; it is designed to facilitate proper formatting and pagination.

PDF/A Instructions

Thesis Title Page only

Creating a Table of Illustrations/Figures in Word (optional)

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