Currently, I'm doing my bachelor's in science. I wanted to write a bachelor thesis so I tried contacting many professors so that I can get some projects and can write my bachelor thesis but most of them were busy or better to say all of them were busy. So I decided to do a project by myself and to write a paper (a bachelor thesis). But What should I have to do with it?

Where I can publish it so that in the future I can have proof?


I'm a physics honors student currently in my last year of the degree. I understood that research work and writing a bachelor's thesis are two different things. I have read this post. And I don't have any research work as I have not come too far in the subject. But I have some things in my mind like writing a new solution to Brachistochrone problem or some geometrical proof for some theorems that I want to be in some official paper as my bachelor's work.

I contacted many professors from my department as well as some other universities but I got no response from them apart from saying that they don't have time or something of the sort. I haven't contacted Ph.D. scholars as I don't how to contact them (How I can access their information from the site?) But I will try to contact them. Any of the students don't have a personal tutor or anything. And I haven't written the paper under their supervision so do they give really mention it?

I actually tried it posting on arXiv but they too need some endorsement approval or something of the sort. So I ask some professor showing my work and asking to approve it but He said,

Dear student ?It is better to publish it in a journal rather than sending it to arXiv.

I don't understand what's the difference and I don't know How to do what He said.

  • 14
    A published paper and a bachelor's thesis are two very different things. It's not very common for bachelor's theses to contain publishable research. Does your department not offer a project/dissertation/thesis module towards the end of your degree? And which field and country are you in? Mar 26, 2021 at 10:59
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    I had a bachelor's student whose work was published (not as written in the thesis, but as a separate paper). It was absolutely outstanding. However, I am not sure whether a student in a field, even a good one, is usually in the position to judge that. Mar 26, 2021 at 11:11
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    @YoungKindaichi That's not sufficient reason to publish. Publication means you have new results worth the time of your fellow scientists to read. If your point is only to prove you have a bachelor's thesis, that's what the degree is for. Don't waste people's time with a vacuous paper. Mar 26, 2021 at 13:13
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    It seems unusual that you can't find anyone at your university to supervise your bachelor thesis if that's a requirement for graduation. How did other students at your uni find a supervisor? Mar 26, 2021 at 15:08
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    Be careful and check with your universities' studies administration whether what you're planning to do would even count. I'm pretty sure at my university, you will not be able to get a grade and credits for a thesis if no Professor supervises it.
    – lucidbrot
    Mar 27, 2021 at 8:20

3 Answers 3


There are many assumptions bundled up in your question which I think need to be addressed.

Firstly, a bachelor's thesis and a research paper in physics are very different, in almost every aspect (content, length, aim, purpose, style etc). It is perfectly possible to write a bachelor's thesis on a topic and then rewrite part of it as a paper that you then submit to a journal for peer review and publication, and it is also possible to incorporate the findings of a published paper in a bachelor's thesis. However, I do not know of any journal (in physics at least) that would simply publish a bachelor's thesis as it is.

Secondly, it is extremely rare for a bachelor's thesis to contain actual novel research. In some countries, it's rare for a Master's thesis to contain novel research. The main purpose of a bachelor's thesis is to give the student a chance to develop their literature review and writing skills. Typically you would write about the history of a certain topic in physics, and perhaps discuss some recent findings or developments. In my bachelor's thesis, I wrote about Noether's theorem, describing its history, showing a couple of basic proofs and talking about how the theorem can be applied to orbital mechanics. Obviously I am not Emmy Noether; none of this was my own original research.

Thirdly, I expect you will find it extremely difficult to progress without supervision. You mentioned that you have contacted various professors. Are they all at your university? Have you tried contacting professors at other universities to see if they would supervise you remotely? And have you considered contacting PhD students or postdocs instead of professors? They may have more time to devote to you and could possibly provide more hands-on supervision.

If you do write a thesis but your university does not offer it as an official part of your degree (i.e. it will not appear on your transcript in any way), then the best "proof" that I can think of would be to show the finished thesis to whichever of your professors you are closest to (do you have a personal tutor or equivalent?) and ask them to mention it when they write reference letters for you. That way you have their word as well as your own that it is your work.

Alternatively you could consider posting it on your own website, or putting it on arXiv as a preprint. I would think carefully about the latter option, however, as you cannot delete things from arXiv and, as your personal standards improve and you move on to more in-depth research, you may not want your bachelor's thesis to remain public five, ten or twenty years down the line.

Edited to address the new details provided:

It sounds like you have some ideas for a research paper and you want to publish it when you have finished it. Your professor told you that it's better to publish your paper in a journal rather than on arXiv, which is true. ArXiv is a preprint server and does not provide peer review, unlike a journal.

Submitting your paper for publication is fairly easy. Firstly you need to identify an appropriate journal for your submission. I'd suggest asking your professor for advice on this, but it sounds like they are not the most helpful. A good way to decide on a journal is to look at the papers you cite in your paper and the journals those are published in.

Be aware that journals have different standards for submission and for some journals, it is common to receive a "desk rejection" i.e. your paper is rejected by the editor before going out for peer review, either because the editor thinks your paper does not fit within the topic of that journal, or because it is insufficiently novel or otherwise of low quality.

Once you have identified a suitable journal, navigate to the website of that journal. There will be an obvious link to click called "submit" or something similar. Click that link and follow the instructions given. Then, if you do not receive a desk rejection, you will have to wait (perhaps a month or two) to get the referee report. You may have to make corrections or alterations to your paper based on the referee report. If you do that satisfactorily, your paper will be accepted and published in the journal.

In physics, it is typical to upload a copy of your paper to arXiv. In my subfield, it's common to post to arXiv, wait a couple of days for the inevitable "you didn't cite me" emails, then submit to the journal. Once the paper has been published, you can then update the version on arXiv. You can check the arXiv help page for information on how to get endorsed: https://arxiv.org/help/endorsement.

  • Thank you for your time. I have edited the question and added all the information, You have asked in your answers so I think this would clear up all the assumptions made. So Please guide me to what should be my next step. Mar 26, 2021 at 11:48
  • @YoungKindaichi thanks for that, I will edit my answer to address your new question. PhD students at my university all have their names and email addresses on the department website, but this obviously differs from university to university. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:32
  • I think now I have pretty much of a good idea, How things works and I know what I have to do. Thanks a lot! Mar 26, 2021 at 15:52
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    In some countries, it is rare for PhD theses to contain truly novel material. Mar 26, 2021 at 18:53
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    It’s not clear an undergraduate thesis would make it through the filter of arXiv, unless it was unusually good - certainly not a thesis on the brachistochrone problem. If it were possible arXiv would be flooded with such documents. Mar 26, 2021 at 18:55

Let me address one point that isn't mentioned in the otherwise complete answer of astronat. You have discovered that it is hard for an undergraduate to make contact with professors at other institutions. This is because they are busy with their own work, including giving proper attention to their own students. Helping you adds to an already full workload, so many will just ignore your emails.

If you want to get such help, however, you can, perhaps, use an intermediary to make the initial contact and recommend you. Your own professors are probably a good source of such introductions if they have maintained a circle of contacts through their own work.

It is easy to ignore an email, especially a long and detailed email, from some unknown person. It is much harder to ignore one from someone you consider a colleague.

So, rather than asking your professors for suggestions on who to contact, ask if they will make an initial introduction on your behalf, giving their "friend" a heads up on why it would be useful/fun/valuable to start a conversation with you.

And, I'll also emphasize that anyone can publish, provided that they write something that editors and reviewers judge worthy of publication and it is brought to their attention through a submission. But the standards are high and few undergraduates (but not none) have yet learned how to meet them. Good luck in your studies.


I get the impression from your post that you are confident in your research skills, perhaps more confident than is likely warranted for a bachelor's student. I think it would help to clarify research for you.

First, although I would consider any paper in a good journal to be sufficient work for a undergraduate thesis, most undergraduate theses do not rise to the level required of a good journal. (I say "good" here because there are predatory journals and conferences looking for money that will publish almost anything.) Most undergrad theses are published online by the university of the student.

When submitting a paper to a good journal, the journal will peer review your paper before acceptance. They will invite reviewers, who are usually other faculty working on similar topics, to assess whether your work appears to be 1) correct and 2) new to the literature. ArXiv is a pre-publication site used to distribute manuscripts before they undergo peer review. It does not have the same prestige as a good peer-reviewed journal.

Second, most master's and PhD students are guided by an advisor. For master's theses, the advisor will often shape the topic and direction of the thesis. Even with a PhD dissertation, where the student is learning to become an independent researcher, the advisor often has a large influence on the topic of the research. This is because it is difficult for a person new to a field to make interesting contributions: 1) they probably lack knowledge of the technical methods used in that field; and 2) they are not familiar enough with the field to know what would constitute a novel contribution. This is true for most master's students and first-year PhD students. As you are a bachelor's student, I am skeptical that you are expert enough on any research topic to work independently.

The level expected of a bachelor's thesis is usually much lower than the level expected for a good peer-reviewed journal paper. Even so, I would be concerned about whether an unsupervised student project would meet that level.

Third, when most master's and PhD students choose an advisor, they are also choosing to work on a research topic within their advisor's expertise. This is even more so of undergraduate research assistants, who often work closely with a PhD student on their research. Most students applying to work with a professor state their interest in the topic, some familiarity with relevant technical skills, and then expect the professor to shape the specific direction of the research as well as provide more technical training.

It is not clear how you approached the professors you mentioned, but I believe that for most professors, if a qualified undergraduate student wanted to be a research assistant with them or their PhD students for thesis credit, they would most likely say yes. When I personally have rejected undergraduates, it is usually because they 1) seem to lack technical skills that other undergraduate students usually have, or 2) they want to work on a specific topic that is separate from my research.

  • 1
    "[arXiv] does not have the same prestige as a good peer-reviewed journal." Indeed. It has more or less zero prestige.
    – cheersmate
    Mar 26, 2021 at 19:06
  • @cheersmate depends who you ask. Some nutcases take great pride in having arXiv papers, and use the apparent prestige of arXiv to substantiate grandiose claims on the validity of their work. Mar 26, 2021 at 23:00
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    Incidentally, April 1st may bring some new papers!
    – Nat
    Mar 26, 2021 at 23:55

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