Perhaps the most significant way Haslam Scholars become lifelong learners and independent thinkers is through research. Whether it is in a lab, in the field, through literature analysis, or creative production, Haslam Scholars contribute to academia by seeking answers to their own questions. Current students are conducting research on culture, social sciences, global issues, physics, biology, the environment, and much more—all with mentorship from top UT faculty. Scholars can complete research on UT’s Knoxville campus and have the opportunity to go beyond campus to conduct research in places such as Hawaii, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.
The Haslam Scholars thesis is an original scholarly project that thoroughly investigates a topic or question and contributes new insights to a particular field of study. While some theses attempt to answer an academic question or test a hypothesis, students in art, music, creative writing, or other creative disciplines may choose to complete a creative project. Completing a thesis allows students to design an individualized project that provides an opportunity to synthesize various pieces of a student’s education. The thesis also provides an opportunity for scholars to develop a professional relationship and work closely with faculty members who share similar research interests, publish their research, and present at local and national professional conferences.
The thesis requirement is the culmination of scholars’ research work and should be completed with the mission and guiding principles in mind. Other program requirements, including those with the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, the course curriculum, Scotland study abroad experience, papers, and oral presentations, help scholars work toward their eventual goal of completing a thesis project and presenting their findings. Haslam Scholars are encouraged to conduct their thesis research during their third year of study and present their research during their senior year at the annual Senior Colloquium. Many past scholars have used their thesis projects as a bridge to professional work or graduate studies.