Plant Sciences

Faculty committee: T. Setter, chair; T. Bauerle, A. DiTommaso, S. Reiners, T. E. Pawlowksa, M. Smith-Einarson

The Research Honors Program in Plant Sciences is designed for students interested in seeking 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 Science (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
  • be engaged in research from junior year
  • identify a prospective honors project advisor and initiate an independent research project by the end of the junior year (complete PLSCI 4990 course)
  • attend the information session for new applicants

For 2019-2020 graduates, the information session will be held on Monday, August 26, 4:00 pm (521 Bradfield Hall)

Application Procedures

  • Apply for the program at the beginning of the senior year. Deadline for Spring 2020 graduates is September 13, 2019.
  • To apply, submit electronically to the committee chair (Tim Setter: the following documents:
    1. An application form (available at
    2. Project proposal (no more then 2 pages, single space, font 12) that should include:
  • Statement of Objectives and Significance
  • Brief overview of literature
  • Experimental Procedures
  • Literature cited

  Project description has to be signed by the research advisor.

  1. Signed Honors Thesis Advisor Agreement (link to Agreement can be found  at

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 accepted into the Plant Sciences 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
  • Enroll in PLSCI 4950 ("Senior Seminar in Plant Sciences," 3 credits, spring semester) and present research findings at the SIPS Senior Symposium (end of the spring semester of the senior year).
  • It is recommended that Plant Sciences Honors graduates also present their work at the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board Spring Forum [CURB] usually held in April (].
  • 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 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.

Important Dates and Deadlines

FALL 2019


Information Session for New Applicants
(For Spring 2020 graduates)

August 26, 4:00 pm
(521 Bradfield Hall)

January 2020 Graduates


Project Report Due to: Research Supervisor

November 2, 2019

Mid-semester presentation to the committee


Project Report Due to: Honors Committee

November 16, 2019

Committee Comments due to: Student

November 30, 2019

Final Revised Report Due:

December 7, 2019

May 2020 Graduates


Project Report Due to: Research Supervisor

April 6, 2020

Thesis Due to: Honors Committee

April 20, 2020

Committee Comments Due to: Student

May 8, 2020

Final Revised Thesis Due:

May 15, 2020

SIPS Senior Symposium