Environmental and Sustainability Sciences

Faculty Director: T. J. Fahey, chair

The research honors program in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences   involves original, independent research that generates novel findings. Students learn how to design and carry out research under the direct supervision and guidance of a faculty member or senior research associate (thesis advisor).

Application Requirements and Procedures

Most students in the program engage in research for multiple years to learn the iterative nature of research.

Students interested in applying to the research honors program in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences must:

  • Identify a thesis advisor and research topic in their junior year.
  • File an informal application with the faculty director during junior year. The application must include a short description of the research and advisor information.
  • NTRES 4990, Undergraduate Research, can be added (in consultation with the research advisor) to receive credit for research work done in fall and/or spring of senior year. Registration is done using CALS Special Studies form available online.
  • Submit formal application to faculty director (G16 Fernow Hall) by the sixth week of fall semester (senior year).

Honors Degree Requirements

Students who are accepted into the Environmental and Sustainability Sciences  Research Honors Program must complete the following in order to graduate with Distinction in Research:

  • Students should meet on a regular basis with their thesis advisor whose responsibility is to guide and approve the thesis work.
  • Present honors research findings in the form of a written thesis. Although the format is not prescribed, the thesis usually consists of a short introduction, relevant materials and methods, a concise presentation of the meaningful data, a discussion, and the student’s interpretation of the conclusions.
  • Present the findings of their research, either orally or via a poster, in a special symposium in late May.
  • Students may volunteer to publish their thesis at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in another journal. A permission form can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  • Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Important Dates and Deadlines

May 2016 Graduates

Submit one copy of the thesis to the thesis advisor and the faculty director.  The faculty director will arrange for a review of the thesis by a faculty reader. 

April 15,  2016

Pick up faculty reader comments from the faculty director.

May 4,  2016

After incorporating faculty reader comments, submit two final theses: one for the college, one for the program director


May 15,  2016


Participate in and present the findings of their research, either orally or via a poster, in an event for parents, faculty, and peers.

Friday before Graduation