Department Honors

Background research

Background research

What are departmental honors?

Departmental honors is a distinction awarded at graduation to students who have successfully completed an outstanding independent research project and achieved a distinguished academic record.

What are the requirements for departmental honors?

Departmental honors may be awarded only to students who have successfully completed two semesters of independent research on a single project. Departmental honors are awarded by a committee of three members, convened by the faculty research advisor. This committee must consist of at least two Environmental Studies faculty members. To be considered for honors the student must have:

  • Completed two semesters of independent research with particular distinction
    achieved an excellent grade point average, particularly in courses required for the major.
  • Completed the required oral and written presentations for multi-semester research projects, including a presentation at a professional conference. (See above)
  • Completed a formal discussion of their research projects with the faculty on their committee. (See below for further details)

How do I pursue departmental honors?

Independent research students who have completed all of the requirements for a multi-semester independent research project, including a presentation at a professional conference, and who are interested in being evaluated for honors must submit their papers to their faculty research advisors one week before the last day of classes prior to their graduation.

Their committees will then decide whether or not to invite honors candidates to an oral discussion of their research with all the members of their committees. The advisors will designate the time and place for the research discussion meetings; normally these meetings will be held during the final exam period, after which point a decision on the awarding of honors will be made.

For a student to achieve honors, the following criteria must be met:

  • The research must be a significant project commensurate with a full year's worth of work.
  • The project must have clear objectives, an appropriate study design, and explicit conclusions based on thoughtful analysis.
  • The paper must be clearly written in the appropriate format, as determined by the faculty research advisor.
  • The student must demonstrate a deep understanding of his/her work and its context.

Students awarded departmental honors must submit the final version of their papers for archiving in the College library. This final version must meet the library's format requirements.