Nutritional Sciences

Faculty committee: Chair, Cha-Sook You

The research honors program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences is an excellent opportunity for students who are highly motivated, interested in research, and wish to commit substantial time and intellectual energy to a project that will span about four semesters of their undergraduate tenure. Honors students enjoy the excitement of both participating in a project that generates new knowledge on an interesting topic and reporting their research findings. By working with faculty mentors and other researchers, they develop skills in research methods and data analysis. Students also learn that research projects are labor intensive and that writing research reports, such as the honors thesis, is a vital and time-consuming aspect of the research process. This intensive research experience is not suitable for all students, and those who desire a less intensive research experience may conduct research with a faculty member under NS 4010.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Students interested in applying to the research honors program in Nutritional Sciences must:

  • Take NS 3980 (fall only), preferably sophomore or junior fall. Students may review program requirements at pages 51-54 of the following website: or contact Dr. Cha-Sook You.
  • Students interested in the program typically spend the spring sophomore semester and fall junior semester exploring honors project opportunities with prospective faculty mentors. Students are responsible for contacting faculty members and applying to their research programs, although some guidance in this process will be provided in NS 3980. By the fall of the junior year, the student is expected to have identified his or her faculty member and be working with him or her on a proposal abstract, which is due early in the junior spring semester.

  • Be accepted into a faculty member’s research program
  • Submit an Honors Application Form and Advisor Agreement Form along with a research proposal abstract that is approved by the director of the research honors program.

Honors Degree Requirements

The research honors project, through which students becomes intellectually engaged in the entire research process, is the major component of the honors program. It should be well defined and sufficiently circumscribed to give students the opportunity to develop a research plan, execute the research, and write an acceptable thesis within the limited time available to students carrying full academic loads. Typically, the project is designed early in the junior year and conducted in the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of senior year. Students may also arrange with their faculty mentor to work on the project during the summer. The spring senior semester is usually devoted to writing the thesis (at least 25 pages).

The research honors program is a structured experience that requires:

  • Maintain a grade point average, equal or higher than 3.2.
  • Pass NS 3980
  • Minimum 6 credits of NS 4990. The six required credits may be taken mostly during senior year (3 credits per semester). Any additional research credits can be obtained under NS 4010. How much time is spent on the project each semester will be the decision of the student and the faculty mentor. For each three to four hours of work per week, the faculty mentor usually will assign one hour of academic credit. This applies to the preparation of the research plan and necessary library research (usually completed during the junior year) as well as the carrying out of the research itself and preparation of the thesis.
  • A written thesis that reports the research. Minimum 25 pages. The student works with the faculty mentor to prepare a draft of the thesis, which is submitted before spring break to a second faculty member for evaluation. When comments are received from the reader, the student must revise the thesis to meet the criteria for acceptance.
  • An oral presentation of the project at the undergraduate honors symposium.
  • Students may volunteer to publish their final, approved 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.

Students may review additional details about deadlines and program requirements at and or contact Dr. Cha-Sook You.