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Entomology Research Honors Program

A research honors program in entomology may be pursued by any qualified student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The student need not be majoring in entomology. Insects, because of their variety, small size, and easy availability, are convenient subjects for studying a wide array of problems in living systems. Short life cycles, unique physiologies and developmental patterns, and species with easily managed husbandry requirements and a wide range of behavioral traits provide the raw material for research honors study. Cornell's diverse faculty interests and extensive collections and library in entomology are also major assets if a student selects entomology as the area for research honors study.

Research honors students have the option of earning academic credit by enrolling in ENTOM 4990 - Undergraduate Research in Entomology during any semester while working toward a research honors thesis. Credits and grade option for satisfying requirements of ENTOM 4990 should be discussed with the thesis advisor.

Note: Enrolling in an independent study course, either ENTOM 4970 or ENTOM 4990 is not a requirement for graduating with distinction in research honors in entomology.

More information

The Entomology Research Honors Committee requires that an undergraduate who is interested in embarking on a research honors project proceed with the following steps:

  1. Discuss the matter with his or her academic advisor, preferably in the junior year. This schedule makes it possible to carefully plan a research project and implement some research during the junior year and/or summer before the senior year.
  2. Select an appropriate faculty member in the Department of Entomology who can serve as a supervisor to oversee the honors research. This need not be the student's academic advisor. The academic advisor will be of assistance in determining which faculty member has expertise most compatible with the interests of the student.
  3. Discuss and develop a project with the honors project supervisor, ultimately resulting in a brief written plan. The plan should include a statement of objectives or hypotheses, proposed methods for testing the hypotheses and needs for laboratory space or shared equipment.
  4. Submit a completed application and proposal approved by the honors project supervisor (with signature) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than the end of the fifth week of the first semester of the senior year. Earlier submission is encouraged. Applications are available online.
  5. Submit a brief progress report, approved by the project supervisor, to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee by midterm of the semester in which the student will complete his or her graduation requirements.
  6. Present a formal seminar reporting the significant findings of the research to the Department of Entomology (as a Jugatae seminar) in the last semester of the senior year.
  7. Submit two copies, one electronic and one printed, of the final honors thesis (as approved by the thesis supervisor) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than two weeks before the last day of classes in the semester in which the student anticipates graduation. The thesis will be reviewed by the faculty honors project supervisor and at least one other referee selected by the chair of the honors committee.
  8. Referees will return the thesis to the student one week before the last day of classes. If reviewers indicate that changes must be made, the revised thesis should be submitted to the Entomology Research Honors Committee Chair no later than the last day of classes. Referees should include a recommendation to the Entomology Research Honors Committee Chair regarding acceptability of the honors thesis. 
  9. Students may volunteer to submit electronically to the honors committee Chair a copy of their final approved thesis (in pdf or Word format) for Mann Library. Mann Library has given CALS the opportunity to have theses available to the public electronically if this does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in another journal. A permission form to allow the thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  10. In addition, students are required to submit electronically to the honors committee Chair their thesis title, research advisor's name, and abstract (in Word format). During each summer, the CALS Research Honors Abstracts publication is published (on the web beginning 2009) as a compilation of research honors thesis abstracts.
  • Cole Gilbert, chair