Plant Sciences

Faculty committee: O. K. Vatamaniuk, chair; A. DiTommaso, J. T. Kao-Kniffin, T. E. Pawlowksa, M. E. Smith-Einarson

The Research Honors Program in Plant Sciences is designed for students interested to obtain advanced training in laboratory and/or field research through completion of an original research project under the guidance of a faculty member from the School of Integrative Plant Sciences (SIPS). The breadth and diversity of research interests of SIPS faculty provide students a valuable opportunity to engage in basic and applied research to be well-positioned to pursue career goals. Students may also work with faculty in any department at Cornell as long as the research topic deals with Plant Sciences.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Students interested in enrolling into the Research Honors Program in Plant Sciences must

  • meet college requirements;
  • have an overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • complete PLSCI 2990 and PLSCI 4990 courses
  • identify a prospective honors project advisor and initiate an independent research project during their junior year.
  • Attend information session for new applicants:
    • 2016-2017 graduates: April 21, 4:45 pm or August 30, 2016, 4:45 pm (Bradfield Hall, 608);
    • 2017-2018 graduates: April 11, 4:45 pm (Bradfield Hall, 608).

Application Procedures

  • Apply for the program at the end of student’s junior year. Deadline for Spring 2017 graduates is May 9th, 2016. To accommodate recent changes in the application deadline, the committee set-up a second deadline for Spring 2017 graduates in the fall of the senior year (September 16th, 2016).
  • To apply, submit electronically to the committee chair (Olena K. Vatamaniuk: the following documents:
    1. An application form.
    2. Project description (no more then 1-page, single space, font 12). Project description should include a title, brief project overview with a clear statement of objective(s). Project description has to be signed by the research advisor.
    3. Signed Honors Thesis Advisor Agreement

Honors Degree Requirements

Honors candidates usually enroll for credit in PLSCI 4990 - Independent Undergraduate Research in Plant Science under the direction of the faculty member acting as Honors supervisor, although the program does not require enrollment for credit.

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

  • Maintain Cornell GPA of at least 3.0
  • Participate in honors group meetings
  • Present research findings at the Plant Sciences Research Honors Symposium (end of the spring semester of the senior year).
  • Submit honors thesis by the scheduled deadline (thesis should be submitted electronically to the committee chair (
  • 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.

Important Dates and Deadlines

SPRING 2016:


Information Session for New Applicants
(For spring 2017 graduates)

April 21, 2016, 4:45 PM
Bradfield Hall 608
or August 30th, 2016 4:45 pm
Bradfield Hall 608

January 2017 Graduates


Project Report Due to:  Research Supervisor

November 2, 2016

Mid-semester presentation to the committee


Project Report Due to:  Honors Committee

November 16, 2016

Committee Comments due to:  Student

December 1, 2016

Final Revised Report Due:

December 8, 2016

May 2017 Graduates


Project Report Due to: Research Supervisor

April 4, 2017

Mid-semester presentation (Symposium)


Thesis Due to: Honors Committee

April 18, 2017

Committee Comments Due to: Student

May 1, 2017

Final Revised Thesis Due:

May 10, 2017

SPRING 2017:


Information Session for New Applicants
(For spring 2018 graduates)

April 11, 2017, 4:45 PM
Bradfield Hall 608