Department Honors

ENST picture honors page

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.

Departmental honors may be awarded only to students who have successfully completed two semesters of independent research on a single project. To be considered for honors the student must have:

  • Completed two semesters of independent research.  This research must be a significant project commensurate with a full year's worth of work. The student must have clear objectives, an appropriate study design, and explicit conclusions based on thoughtful analysis.
  • Orally present their project at the Earth Issues seminar series in both the fall and spring semesters. 
  • Present your research at a professional conference
  • Submit a written report (thesis) on their completed independent research project with references to key literature. The paper must be clearly written in the appropriate format, as determined by the faculty research advisor. 
  • Complete a formal discussion of their research projects with the faculty on their committee. During this discussion, the student must demonstrate a deep understanding of his/her work and its context. Faculty research advisors may set additional requirements.

Timeline for Environmental Studies/Science Research Process & Honors

How do I pursue departmental honors?

Independent research students who are interested in being evaluated for honors must apply for their research to be considered for honors by the end of their first semester of research (Link to form).

After reviewing the proposal and work presented during the fall Earth Issues seminar, the Advisor in consultation with the Department will decide whether or not the candidate is eligible for honors designation.  If the student is invited to pursue honors, the student and their faculty research advisor will convene a committee of three members.  This committee must consist of at least two Environmental Studies faculty members.  After the student completes their final written report and the other requirements for honors designation (see bulleted list above, including presenting at a professional conference) the honors candidate will be invited 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.

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


  • *Students may receive approval from the department to have research supervised by an advisor outside of the Environmental Studies Department. Students should talk about the proposed research with two ES faculty members before asking for approval. If approved, students should ask one of the ES faculty to serve as a department liaison to the research advisor. Research advisors outside of the department should regularly communicate with an Environmental Studies Department liaison about the progress of student research.
  • **All honors committees should have at least two Environmental Studies faculty.
  • ***Committee considers student progress, proposal, and presentation to determine if research should be eligible for honors consideration. The committee will inform the student if they are invited to be considered for honors.