Download .pdf of Guidelines

Timetable of Events
 Date (2014/2015)
 Items due
 September 8, 2014
 Project Proposal Due
 Between December 1 and 12
 Oral progress report and defense of research progress
 April 4, 2015
 Complete written draft of project due to primary advisor
 April 15, 2015
 *Dickinson Science Symposium
 April 16, 2015
 Second draft of project due to non-advisor faculty in the department
 Between April 20 and May 1
 Oral Presentation
 Last day of classes
 Final paper is due, no exceptions

*If going for honors the oral presentation will include a defense.  To be considered for honors a candidate must have 3.5 GPA (overall).
**Each ERSC major is expected to present a poster at the science symposium summarizing their capstone project.
We doubt that meeting these deadlines will pose an issue however, the above deadlines are firm deadlines and failure to meet a given deadline will result in a loss of one letter grade and ineligibility for consideration for honors.  If you have any questions about the timeline, send me an e-mail.  


  1. Research proposals should begin with a clear concise summary.  This brief (< 150 word) section should describe the study area, state the hypothesis to be tested, and a means of determining the validity of that hypothesis.
  2. A research proposal is a clearly written, succinct, and well referenced description of work that you would like to complete.  As such the most successful research proposals address and tackle the following sorts of questions up front (within the first few paragraphs):
    • What problem are you proposing to study?
    • What is the significance of the problem?  Why should we care about the problem?
    • Remember that not all research projects address an honors-worthy question. You must place your project into the broader disciplinary context.
    • How are you going to go about tackling this question?  What specific strategies will be employed?
    • What results might you expect?  What techniques will be used to help interpret the results?
    • How would interpret these results?  How would you interpret other results?
  3. In a proposal, it is of utmost importance that you clearly define the limits of the project.  If this is a field based project, where is your field area?  If this is a lab or computer based project be certain to clearly define the problem to be solved.  Remember that figures help reviewers have a clearer idea of your project goals and importance.
  4. The body of the proposal should provide in depth background about the problem that will be investigated.  It is your duty to educate the reviewers about the significance of the problem.  Be certain to cite references from the literature.
  5. Once the significance and regional geology have been described, it is important to outline the methodologies that will be employed.  Try and pose your hypothesis in the form of an “either or” question and explain which results would support the hypothesis and which refute the hypothesis.  This is critical, if written carefully you can propose an experiment that sheds new insights into the specified problem even if your hypothesis isn’t confirmed.
  6. Describe what part of this project is being done independently by you as opposed to your project advisor’s ongoing research program.  What measurements will you make and what data analysis will you do?
  7. Summarize and reiterate the significance of the proposed research.
  8. Include a complete list of the references that were referenced in the body of the proposal.
  9. If you have any figures or tables place them after your references.  Make certain to include references to each figure and/or table in the text.