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Nutritional Sciences

Faculty committee: Chair, Dr. Julia Felice

The 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

The application procedure for the Honors Program is described briefly below. However, students interested in the DNS Honors Program should review program requirements in detail, because the explanation below does not include some important application details. Students should contact Dr. Julia Felice for important additional information about application procedures.

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. Applications to the DNS Honors Program are due in early February of a student's junior year.

Complete applications include:

  1. The Honors Program Application front sheet
  2. The Honors Advisor Agreement Form
  3. A separate proposal abstract, describing the research project and the student's specific role in that project

Interested students should contact Dr. Julia Felice for the application and advisor agreement form. In addition, it is strongly recommended that students take NS 3980  - Research in Human Nutrition and Health—a requirement in the Honors Program—in the fall semester of their sophomore or junior year. 

Honors Degree Requirements

The Honors research 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. The components of an Honors Thesis and the requirements for submitting them are described briefly below.

Typically, the Honors 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).

Honors Program students are required to:

  1. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.2.
  2. Pass NS 3980 (may not be taken S/U). Fall only. Highly recommended that students take this as early as possible.
  3. Complete a 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. However, a faculty mentor usually assigns one hour of academic credit per 3-4 weekly hours of work. These hours include preparing the research plan and conducting the necessary library research (both of which are usually completed during the junior year) as well as implementing the research itself and preparing and writing the honors thesis.
  4. Meet all Honors Program requirements and deadlines. These are detailed in the DNS Honors Program document linked above.
  5. Complete 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.
  6. Give an oral presentation of the project at the undergraduate honors symposium. The symposium is typically held at the beginning of the spring finals period.

Students should contact Dr. Julia Felice for important additional information about program deadlines and requirements.

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 a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library 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.