Student Research

The Environmental Studies Program encourages majors to consider independent research projects or an honors project as part of their academic program. Projects can be an extension of work begun in an ES seminar course.

For juniors, considering ES Honors during their senior year, please note the following schedule:

  • September 17, 2019 (noon): Phase one deadline for Grua/O'Connell Research Award
  • September 27, 2019 (noon): Phase two deadline for Grua/O'Connell Research Award
  • February 11, 2019 (noon): Phase one deadline for Institutional Fellowships
  • February 25, 2019 (noon): Phase two deadline for Institutional Fellowships
  • By April 1 : Students should meet with potential ES faculty advisor regarding proposed Honors Project
  • By May 1: Students should sign up for ENVS4001
  • During reading period, Juniors should attend ES Honors presentations (time and location TBD)

Completed Honors Projects

Environmental Studies Honors Project Guidelines 2018-2019

An Honors Project in Environmental Studies provides students with an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research and analysis. ES students should elect an Environmental Studies Honors Project if they have an interest in an area that is interdisciplinary in nature and the topic of their project cannot be addressed through their departmental major. The Environmental Studies program expects that honors projects require more than one semester of research and writing in an Advanced Independent Study in ES (ES 4000-4003). For those students graduating in December, they should start the honors project in the spring of their junior year.

The ES Honor Project committees are comprised of at least two ES faculty members. Selection of the faculty committee is the responsibility of the faculty advisor and the ES Program Director. The format of the ES Honors Program will be developed by the faculty committee to reflect the focus of the student's research interest. Students who are interested in an Honors Project must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in ES courses by the spring of their junior year or approval of the ES Program Director.


By September 11, Honors candidates should register for ENVS 4001 and have selected a faculty advisor and committee members.

By October 12, Honors candidates will submit a proposal for review by the faculty committee that includes the following: statement of problem, significance of problem, analytical and theoretical framework, expected results, a description of the question that the student is researching, an outline for the paper, and a description of other project components. The proposal should include a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources and the name and affiliation of committee members.

In late October (date TBA), all Environmental Studies faculty and all Honors candidates will meet to hear each candidate speak briefly about his or her Honors Project proposal. Copies of the proposals will have been distributed prior to the meeting to ES faculty. ES faculty will respond with suggestions for ways of improving or sharpening the candidate's approach to the subject. Advisors will meet with candidates after the presentation to discuss the program faculty's suggestions.

By December 7, the Honors candidate will submit a draft of the first chapter or section to his or her Honors committee and have completed a literature review and discussion of methods. After having read and commented on this paper, the committee will meet with the student. The committee will then make a recommendation by the end of the semester as to whether the project should continue into the second semester, or if it should become an independent study.

By February 1,  the Honors candidate will submit a draft of the next substantive section (or chapter) of the project.

By March 8, the Honors candidate will submit a draft of the next substantive sections (or chapters) of the project.

By April 12, the Honors candidate will hand in a completed draft of the project. Soon after these drafts have been read by the committee, the Honors candidate and the committee will meet to review the project to ensure that satisfactory progress has been made up to this point.

By May 3, the Honors candidate will hand in the final honors project to the committee.

During  reading period: The Honors candidate will provide an oral presentation to the ES faculty committee for approval. Juniors who are considering pursuing ES Honors during their senior year are strongly encouraged to attend.


Each Honors candidate's faculty committee will evaluate the Honors Project based upon quality of research, writing, originality of topic, effective use of primary materials (as appropriate), and completeness.