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Honors Program Requirements

Application Requirements and Procedures

An undergraduate wishing to enroll in the honors program must have completed a minimum of 55 credits, at least 30 while at Cornell. Additionally, the student must have a cumulative Cornell GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of entry, unless otherwise noted by a particular program.

Interested students must submit a written application and thesis proposal to the appropriate office in accordance with their program area deadlines no later than the first semester of their senior year. However, they are encouraged to discuss research ideas with a faculty member during their junior year. Please confirm your program area's internal deadline as it may be as early as junior year. Additional requirements for application and completion of the honors program are specified by each program area (further details under individual program areas listed below).

Knowing the deadlines and submission procedures for a particular program area is the student’s responsibility.

Application submission

  • Applications for Biological Sciences students are available via the Biological Sciences research honors website, or come by the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall to discuss in person.
  • Applications for Biology & Society are available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill Hall.
  • Applications for Communication students are available via the Communication research honors website.
  • Applications for students in all other program areas must be completed and submitted online via the Experience Cornell website. To complete the application form, electronic signatures of approval are required from both the faculty research mentor and research honors program area chair.

The CALS Research Honors Program Committee gives final approval of all qualified applicants, notifying them of their official enrollment in the honors program by late November. 

Honors Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in the honors program may earn credits for their research by enrolling in an independent research course (required by some program areas). Funding opportunities are also available.

Students are required to present their research in the form of an oral presentation or poster session. Some departments have a seminar series during which honors presentations may be given; the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board (CURB) Forum is another possible venue for presentations.  Students should discuss presentation options with their faculty mentors.

In addition to a presentation, successful completion of the honors program requires a research report, written in the style of a master’s thesis or scholarly journal article. Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research 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. Additionally, in recognition of student honors research, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts) each year. Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions. Thesis examples can be found on the web by searching for "thesis" at http://guides.library.cornell.edu/ecommons/home. Each program area chair may also be able to provide relevant examples.

Unless otherwise indicated within individual program area descriptions, theses should be submitted to the research program committee no later than four weeks before the end of classes during the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences wishing to participate in the Research Honors Program are not eligible for “distinction in research” by participating in a program offered by another college or administrative unit.

The research honors committee for each program area then recommends to the college registrar those students who qualify for honors. Only those who maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and complete all of their honor requirements will be graduated with “distinction in research.”

Research Honors Program Areas

Faculty committee: S. M. Quirk, chair; J. Alan, Y. R. Boisclair, D. J. Cherney, K. J. Czymmek, H. J. Huson, Q. M. Ketterings, J. W. McFadden, T. R. Overton, E. T. Won

The objective of the animal sciences research honors program is to provide outstanding undergraduates with the opportunity to pursue supervised, independent research and to develop an awareness of the scientific process. Honors-level research will require significant effort and creative input by the student in its design, execution, and reporting of results.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Those students who major in animal sciences and are interested in doing a research project should consult with their faculty advisors during their junior year. All students are expected to meet the college requirements in qualifying for the program and to complete the following:

Honors Degree Requirements

  • Identify a potential research honors project sponsor (i.e., a faculty member at Cornell working in the animal sciences) and secure that faculty member’s commitment to sponsor the student in the research project. This should be accomplished by the second semester of the junior year or earlier. Students are encouraged to implement some research during the junior year and/or summer before the senior year.
  • Enroll in the Honors Program using the CALS application form within the first 6 weeks of the fall semester, senior year.
  • Register for ANSC 4990.
  • Participate in ANSC 4020 during the spring semester of the senior year and report on and discuss the project and results.
  • Submit a written thesis to the Animal Sciences Research Honors Committee by the scheduled deadline (mid-April for May graduates). Specific information regarding deadlines, format, and organization for the thesis will be provided.
  • Meet with the Animal Sciences Research Honors Committee for a short oral defense of the thesis following a review of the thesis by the student’s mentor and the research committee.
  • Submit to the honors committee chair an electronic copy of the final approved thesis (in pdf or Word format) as well as a bound copy of the thesis.
  • Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research 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.

Details pertaining to the specific requirements of the program can be obtained from Dr. Quirk, smq1 [at] cornell.edu, Department of Animal Science, 434 Morrison Hall.

Students interested in the Research Honors Program in the Biological Sciences should consult with their faculty advisors and with potential faculty research mentors early in their junior year. See Independent Research and Honors Program in the Biological Sciences section of Acalog for complete details. Information on faculty research, applications, and program requirements may be obtained from the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall, or at biology.cornell.edu/research/honors.

Faculty committee: Jessica Ratcliff, Director of Undergraduate Studies

The Research Honors Program in Biology & Society is designed to provide independent research opportunities to academically talented undergraduate students in biology & society. Students enrolled in this program are expected, with faculty guidance, to perform independent study and research dealing with issues in biology and society. Students should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding whether or not they intend to pursue a research career.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Biology & Society students are considered for entry into the research honors program at the end of the second semester of the junior year. Application forms for the program are available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill Hall or by contacting Matthew Morgan at mcm365 [at] cornell.edu">mcm365 [at] cornell.edu. To qualify for the Biology & Society Research Honors Program, a student must have an overall Cornell cumulative GPA of at least 3.3, have formulated a research topic, and have found a project supervisor (with a Cornell academic appointment) and another faculty member willing to serve as their advisor. At least one of these must be a member of the Biology & Society major.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee headed by the director of undergraduate studies, who will notify students directly of the outcome. Students will be permitted to register for the honors program only by permission of the department. Students must enroll for both the fall and spring semesters. They must attend the honors seminar during the fall semester. More information about the honors program is available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill.

Honors Degree Requirements

Students who are accepted into the Biology & Society Research Honors Program must complete the following in order to graduate with Distinction in Research:

  • Students must enroll for two semesters in BSOC 4991-4992, Honors Project I and II, for the Fall and Spring semesters. An enrollment code for these courses will be provided when the student is admitted to the honors program.
  • Carry out research and write a thesis satisfactory to the student’s special committee.

Important Deadlines. Note: If the following dates fall on a weekend, the deadline is the preceding Friday.

  • Last week of second semester of the junior year: Application for honors program submitted to 303 Morrill Hall.
  • First Monday after Labor Day: a 1000-word thesis proposal with preliminary bibliography submitted to first reader.
  • End of first semester: students meet with first reader to decide whether to move forward.
  • March 7: First draft submitted to thesis advisor.
  • April 8-15: Thesis completed in a form satisfactory for evaluation and submitted to the three readers.
  • April 29-May 10: Thesis defense accomplished.
  • May 13: One bound copy of completed and defended thesis submitted to the Undergraduate Coordinator in 303 Morrill Hall.

Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research 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.

 

Faculty Committee: N. Lewis, Jr., chair

Overview

The research honors program in communication offers outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to work with a member of the communication faculty to pursue supervised independent research in the areas of media, technology, science, environment, health, persuasion, social influence, collaboration, intercultural communication, and other communication topics. The subject matter and nature of the research experience may be quite varied. Students participating should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding, whether or not they intend to pursue a research career. It is expected that the research will require significant effort by the student in its design and execution, and in reporting of the results. The Bachelor of Science degree with “distinction in research” is conferred to students who successfully complete an honors thesis in communication.

The guidance and supervision of a faculty member with substantial interest and expertise is essential to the success of the research honors project. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate field of communication. Students should enroll in COMM 4990 their senior year to receive course credit for their honors research work.

TIMELINE

For Spring Graduates:

  • Junior year: contact communication faculty to talk about research ideas and identify thesis advisor
  • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the fall semester.
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of April in the spring semester.

For Fall Graduates:

  • Junior year: contact communication faculty to talk about research ideas and identify thesis advisor
  • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the spring semester.
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of November in the fall semester.


THESIS PROPOSALS

Students should work closely with their honors thesis advisor in developing their thesis proposals. The purpose of the proposal is twofold. First, it formalizes a plan of study and establishes a set of expectations between the student and the faculty advisor. Second, the Communication Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will facilitate a formal review of the proposal to determine whether it is consistent with honors thesis requirements and, in some cases, to make suggestions for improvement.

The proposal should be 5 to 10 typed, double-spaced pages and include the following:

  1. Research Topic: State the problem to be studied or the topic of interest. Review the basic literature and the background of the problem or topic; include a more extensive bibliography to be consulted.
  2. Research Questions/Empirical Hypotheses: Specify the proposed questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested empirically via collection of data and a mode of analysis accepted in the field of communication research.
  3. Research Methods: Discuss the models to be constructed (if any), sampling procedures, data collection procedures (including measurement instruments and survey or experimental designs, if appropriate), and proposed methods of analysis.
  4. Expected Significance: State what new knowledge or information is likely to be forthcoming and why it is important. State any practical applications expected as a result of the research.
  5. References

THESES

After the April deadline, the thesis will be independently reviewed typically by two faculty committee members within about two weeks. If further revisions are required, students will be informed and a revised draft will be requested. Students who successfully complete a communication honors thesis are often invited to present their research to the communication department in late April/early May.

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.

We also recommend students consult the following resource as they prepare their thesis drafts:

APPLICATION SUBMISSION

All proposals and theses should be uploaded and submitted to the Communication Undergraduate Program Coordinator through this online form.

Questions? Contact the Communication Director of Undergraduate Studies: Associate Professor dm658 [at] cornell.edu">Drew Margolin.

Faculty committee: J. Sanderson, Chair

The 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 and roles in the environment 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.

Though research activities are available to all undergraduate students (see links below for academic credit options), the honors thesis program is designed to capture the full range of the scientific process, from selecting a research question, designing a study to test hypotheses through experimentation, analysis, writing and revising a thesis, and public presentation of the results.

Qualifications

An undergraduate wishing to enroll in the Entomology honors program must have completed a minimum of 55 credits, at least 30 while at Cornell. Additionally, the student must have a cumulative Cornell GPA of 3.0 or higher at time of entry to the program.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Research honors students have the option of earning academic credit by enrolling in ENTOM 4970, Individual Study in Entomology or ENTOM 4990, Undergraduate Research in Entomology during any semester while working toward a research honors thesis. Credits and grade option for satisfying requirements of this course should be discussed with the thesis supervisor (below).

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

Sequence of Requirements. 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 your academic advisor, preferably no later than your 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. Preferably no later than the end of your junior year, select an appropriate faculty member in the Department of Entomology who can serve as an honors project supervisor to oversee the honors research. This need not be your academic advisor. The academic advisor will be of assistance in determining which faculty member has expertise most compatible with your interests.
  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 hypotheses, and needs for laboratory space or shared equipment.
  4. Submit a completed application and proposal, containing the elements mentioned in number 3 above, approved by the honors project supervisor (with signature) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than the end of the second week of the first semester of the senior year. Earlier submission is strongly encouraged. Applications are available online.

Honors Degree Requirements

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

  1. Submit a brief progress report, approved by the project supervisor, to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee by the end of the second week of the semester in which the student will complete his or her graduation requirements.
  2. Submit a full draft of the thesis to your honors project supervisor for their review in time to be completed, and revisions made, before final submission.  Six weeks prior to the end of classes is a suggested deadline to submit this first draft to your supervisor, but this should be determined by your and your supervisor.
  3. Submit a digital copy in MSWord of the final honors thesis (as approved by the honors project supervisor, with signature) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than four weeks before the last day of classes in the semester in which the student anticipates graduation. The thesis will be reviewed by the Chair of the Honors Committee and at least one other referee selected by the Chair.
  4. Reviewed theses will be returned to the student usually at least 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 the study break before final exams begin. Referees should include a recommendation to the Entomology Research Honors Committee Chair regarding acceptability of the thesis for honors recognition.
  5. Present a formal seminar reporting the significant findings of the research to the Department of Entomology (as a Jugatae seminar) during the last week of classes in the last semester of the senior year.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Requirements for honors project supervisors. Your supervisor must agree to the following:

  • Will approve your thesis proposal before it is submitted
  • Will provide the necessary equipment, supplies, and facilities to conduct your research
  • Will guide, support, and evaluate your progress as you work towards your thesis
  • Will review and provide feedback on your progress report before it is submitted
  • Will review and provide feedback on your thesis before you submit the thesis for formal review

The complete text of this section can be found at https://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/undergraduate/research-honors-program/.

Program coordinator: Colleen M. Kearns

Program Overview

If you find that you enjoy research and want the experience of being a manuscript author, consider the Environment & Sustainability Research Honors Program in your senior year. Some CALS honors programs require an application at the end of junior year (biological sciences, environment & sustainability, social sciences and nutrition). See the list of CALS Research Honors Programs and ask your research mentor which is the best fit for your work.

The research honors program in environment and sustainability involves original, independent research that generates novel findings in a breadth of disciplines spanning the social, biological, and physical sciences and humanities. Students are encouraged to understand and address contemporary environmental and sustainability issues through an interdisciplinary and integrated approach. Thesis candidates learn how to design and carry out research under the direct supervision and guidance of a thesis advisor.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to network early in the junior year with faculty instructors, advisors, and graduate teaching assistants to identify faculty doing work that aligns with their interests and career goals. Students doing research off campus rely on winter and summer breaks to collect data at their field sites.

In the senior year, candidates meet on a regular basis with their thesis advisor whose responsibility it is to guide and approve the thesis work. Candidates will present the findings of their work in a special symposium in May.

Thesis Timeline

Thesis work is completed early in the senior spring semester. The thesis manuscript is submitted for formal review in mid-April. Once the thesis is formally accepted, CALS candidates graduate with Distinction in Research.

Junior Year

  1. Identify a thesis advisor and research topic.
  2. Apply to the E&S Honors Program by the end of junior year using the link on the E&S honors web page.

Senior Year

  1. ENVS 4990 - Undergraduate Research[CMK1]  can be added (in consultation with your research advisor) to receive credit for research work done in fall and spring. Enroll in research credits using the CALS Special Studies form. Enrollment in research credits is optional, not a requirement, in the E&S honors program.
  2. April 15: Target date for formal thesis submission for May graduates. December and August graduates should contact the E&S Program for details on their timelines.
  3. By the end of classes: Candidates will receive thesis feedback and have an opportunity to revise their manuscript.
  4. By the end of finals: Submit final version of thesis.
  5. May: Candidates present the findings of their thesis project in an honors symposium.
  6. Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons, Cornell’s digital repository, 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 in eCommons can be obtained from the E&S honors program coordinator.
  7. 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 seeking research honors in Information Science should refer to the CALS Social Sciences guidelines.

Faculty committee: J. Vanucchi, chair

The research honors program in landscape studies offers outstanding undergraduates in CALS the opportunity to work with a member of the landscape architecture faculty to pursue supervised independent research in the cultural landscape, landscape archeology, environmental design resilience, community-based design and other design topics. The subject matter and nature of the research experience may be quite varied. Students participating should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding, whether or not they intend to pursue a research career. The guidance and supervision of a faculty member with substantial interest and expertise is essential to the success of the research honors project. It is expected that the research will require significant effort and creative input by the student in its design and execution, and in reporting of the results.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Students who consider this option should be aware that honors research is undertaken above and beyond all requirements for graduation in the major of landscape architecture. It involves a number of deadlines and a considerable time commitment. Before signing on for research honors, students need to consult with their academic advisor to make sure that honors projects will not interfere with other academic or professional objectives such as job applications, preparation of portfolios, or application to graduate school as these may need to be deferred until the thesis is complete. Students are responsible for meeting deadlines and being prepared for presentations and other meetings.

Although honors research credits for spring semester junior year and both semesters senior year are designated a letter grade, individual mentors may choose the R grade for “work in progress” until the project has been fully completed. Grades are determined by each student’s mentor. The designation of “distinction in research” on the diploma is awarded at the recommendation of the faculty advisor and other referees to the honors committee chair. An outline of activities for both years is given below.

Honors Degree Requirements

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

Junior year: Identify a potential faculty mentor and secure his or her commitment to sponsor the honors research project. This task should be accomplished early in the second semester of the junior year and be finalized by the end of the spring semester.

  1. Work with faculty mentor to identify and formulate a research problem. If the faculty advisor is not in the Department of Landscape Architecture, a co-advisor from the department should be selected to ensure that the research is consistent with the field.
  2. Submit a completed application and proposal, approved by the honors project supervisor and the chair of the research honors committee, no later than the end of the fourth week of the first semester of the senior year. Earlier submissions are encouraged. Applications will be reviewed by ad hoc committee members, and successful thesis proposals will be submitted to the college honors committee by the sixth week.
  3. Carry out an independent research effort that is original and separate from the work of others who may be investigating similar subjects.
  4. Submit an outline of the thesis to the chair of the committee by the end of January for a May graduation.
  5. Submit a draft to the readers by April 15. Describe and summarize the work within the range of formats used in the master’s thesis program or professional journals in design or research. This version will be reviewed by the faculty supervisor and two ad hoc reviewers, and the student will be able to incorporate the committee’s comments and suggestions into the final version, which will be due the last day of classes. Referees will prepare a recommendation to the honors committee chair regarding the acceptability of the honors thesis.
  6. Give one oral presentation to the group of other honors research students and invited faculty members. Both presentations are during the student’s senior year.
  7. Send one bound copy of the completed and defended thesis to the honors committee chair by May 13 or another date provided by CALS, whichever is sooner.
  8. Students may choose to publish their original honors research 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.
  9. 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.

Global and Public Health Sciences, within the Division of Nutritional Sciences

Faculty committeeChair, Dr. Julia Felice

The Honors Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) is designed to challenge research-oriented DNS majors (NS, HBHS, and GPHS) with strong academic records. Students may conduct Honors research within or outside DNS.

The Honors Program is a structured research-based experience that focuses and builds on a student’s ongoing research, and involves four general components:

  • NS 3980, an introductory course in research (fall junior year for spring graduates)
  • Successful application to the DNS Honors Program (spring of junior year for spring graduates, fall of junior year for fall graduates)
  • A multi-semester independent research project, mentored by a faculty PI (final 3+ semesters)
  • Completion of a written thesis that reports the research (final two semesters)
  • Oral presentation of research at the DNS Undergraduate Honors Symposium (final semester)

Interested DNS majors should visit the DNS Honors Program page to review detailed eligibility requirements, application procedures, submission requirements and assignment descriptions, deadlines, and recent Honors theses.

Many DNS majors participate in research through an independent study or employment, with or without applying to the DNS Honors Program. Read more about getting involved in undergraduate research and about DNS faculty research

 

Nutritional Sciences, within the Division of Nutritional Sciences

Faculty committee: Chair, Dr. Julia Felice

The Honors Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS) is designed to challenge research-oriented DNS majors (NS, HBHS, and GPHS) with strong academic records. Students may conduct Honors research within or outside DNS.

The Honors Program is a structured research-based experience that focuses and builds on a student’s ongoing research, and involves four general components:

  • NS 3980, an introductory course in research (fall junior year for spring graduates)
  • Successful application to the DNS Honors Program (spring of junior year for spring graduates, fall of junior year for fall graduates)
  • A multi-semester independent research project, mentored by a faculty PI (final 3+ semesters)
  • Completion of a written thesis that reports the research (final two semesters)
  • Oral presentation of research at the DNS Undergraduate Honors Symposium (final semester)

Interested DNS majors should visit the DNS Honors Program page to review detailed eligibility requirements, application procedures, submission requirements and assignment descriptions, deadlines, and recent Honors theses.

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.

Faculty committee: M. W. Wysocki, chair

The research honors program in physical sciences provides outstanding students with an opportunity to do independent research under the supervision of a faculty member in the Departments of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Food Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, or Biological Statistics and Computational Biology.

Application Requirements and Procedures

In addition to meeting the requirements of the college, the student interested in applying to the Physical Sciences Research Honors Program is expected to:

  1. Identify a thesis advisor and thesis topic before the end of the junior year.
  2. Work with the thesis advisor to prepare a budget, short research proposal (2–3 pages), and application form. These materials must be received by the Physical Sciences committee chair by the end of the third week of senior year.

Honors Degree Requirements

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

  1. Enroll in the program for a minimum of two semesters.
  2. Enroll in the appropriate departmental undergraduate research course for a total of at least 6 credits.
  3. Submit an outline of the thesis to the chair of the committee by the end of January (for a May graduation).
  4. Submit a draft of the thesis to the thesis advisor with sufficient lead-time for revisions to be prepared.
  5. Submit three copies of the thesis and names of recommended reviewers to the chair of the honors committee by four weeks before the end of classes in the semester in which graduation is expected.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

There is no required format, but the thesis is usually written in the form of a research journal article or a master's thesis.

Further details of the program can be obtained from the chair of the Physical Sciences Research Honors Committee.

Faculty committee: T. Setter, chair; T. Bauerle, A. DiTommaso, T. 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 in 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 plants.

Application Requirements and Procedures

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

  • meet college requirements
  • have an overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • be engaged in research no later than the first semester of the junior year
  • identify a prospective honors project advisor and initiate an independent research project no later than the second semester of the junior year (complete PLSCI 4990 course)
  • attend the information session for new applicants


Students graduating in 2021-2022 should contact the research honors committee chair, Dr. Tim Setter (tls1 [at] cornell.edu (subject: Plant%20Science%20Honors%20Zoom%20Meeting%20Info%20Request) ()), about the mandatory information session at the beginning of the fall semester.

Application Procedures

Application involves a two-step procedure.

           a.     Application form (available at cals.cornell.edu/academics/student-research/honors/).

           b.     Research description (no more than two pages, single space, font 12) that should include:
                       o       Statement of objectives and significance
                       o       Brief overview of literature
                       o       Experimental procedures
                       o       Literature cited
                       o       Signature by research advisor.

           c.     Signed honors thesis advisor agreement. Contact Dr. Setter, tls1 [at] cornell.edu, for a copy.

Honors Degree Requirements

Honors candidates are encouraged to enroll and obtain credit each semester in PLSCI 4990 - Independent Undergraduate Research in Plant Science under the direction of the faculty member acting as the Honors supervisor, although the program does not have a specific credit requirement.

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).
  • Plant Sciences Honors graduates are encouraged to present their work at the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board Spring Forum [CURB] near the end of each semester (See: courses2.cit.cornell.edu/CURB/].
  • Submit honors thesis by the scheduled deadline [thesis should be submitted electronically to the committee chair (tls1 [at] cornell.edu)].
  • Students are encouraged to publish their final, approved thesis at eCommons Cornell University Library. Students should consult with faculty advisor to ensure that such publishing does not interfere with 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 2021

  • Information session for new applicants (for spring 2022 graduates) - Contact T. Setter (tls1 [at] cornell.edu) for date and location information.

December 2021 Graduates

  • Project report due to: Research Supervisor - November 1, 2021
  • Thesis due to: Honors Committee - November 15, 2021
  • Committee comments due to: Student - December 6, 20201
  • Final revised thesis due: December 13, 2021

May 2022 Graduates

  • Project report due to: Research Supervisor - April 4, 2022
  • Thesis due to: Honors Committee - April 18, 2022
  • Committee comments due to: Student - May 6, 2022
  • Final revised thesis due: May 13, 2022
  • SIPS Senior Symposium - TBD

Faculty Committee: T. Hirschl, chair; P. M. Eloundou-Enyegue, and T. Alexander

Overview

This thesis program is open to students in CALS who work in a set of social science related fields (including applied economics and management, global development, development sociology, international agriculture and rural development, environment and sustainability science and information science). The program provides an excellent opportunity for students to pursue independent study and research under the guidance/mentorship of a faculty member. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate faculty. Exceptions may be granted for persons with special expertise pending petition to the committee. Previously approved theses covered a wide range of topics and methodologies. A complete list can be found at ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/2937. Students are accepted into the social sciences research honors program of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences after meeting all the college criteria described here, after evaluation of the student’s written application, and on approval of a detailed thesis proposal by the Social Science Honors Committee.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Guidelines and Due Dates

A. Application and Proposal:

Students must submit email a copy of the completed application and proposal to the social science program area faculty committee chair (Dr. Tom Hirschl, sh104 [at] cornell.edu ()) as well as a letter of support from their advisor, confirming their ability to oversee the thesis (see application deadlines below). Late applications will not be considered.

Application timeline & dates.

  • Junior year: Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate faculty. Exceptions may be granted for persons with special expertise pending petition to the committee.
  • For May graduates, the proposal is due the 3rd Friday of September to the Social Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator. (For December graduates, the proposal will be due the 3rd Friday of February of the Spring semester).
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of April the spring semester to the Social Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator. (For December graduates, the proposal will be due the 3rd Friday of November in the Fall semester).

May Graduate Timeline

Academic Year 2021-2022
Proposals due 17 September 2021

Academic Year 2022-2023
Proposals due 16 September 2022

Academic Year 2023-2024
Proposals due 15 September 2023

Proposal Details.

Working with their honors thesis advisor, students should begin developing their thesis proposals during the second semester of junior year. The purpose of the proposal is twofold. First, it formalizes a plan of study and establishes a set of expectations between the student and the faculty advisor. Second, the honors committee reviews the proposal to determine whether it is consistent with honors thesis requirements and to make suggestions for improvement. Students accepted into the honors program should register for credit directed by the honors thesis faculty advisor (e.g., AEM 4990, COMM 4990, DSOC 4990, EDUC 4990).

The proposal should be 5 to 10 typed, double-spaced pages and include the following:

  1. Research Topic: State the problem to be studied or the topic of interest. Review the basic literature and the background of the problem or topic; include a more extensive bibliography to be consulted.
  2. Research Questions/Empirical Hypotheses: Specify the proposed questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested empirically via collection of data and a mode of analysis accepted in the social sciences.
  3. Research Methods: Discuss the models to be constructed (if any), sampling procedures, data collection procedures (including measurement instruments and survey or experimental designs, if appropriate), and proposed methods of analysis.
  4. Expected Significance: State what new knowledge or information is likely to be forthcoming and why it is important. State any practical applications expected as a result of the research.
  5. Research Timeline: Provide a brief chronological plan for how you will complete your project by the April deadline. This is intended to help you think about how to plan your workload to complete the project by mid-April. In this section, you need to think about data collection and access issues (especially for students collecting their own data/those that will require Institutional Review Board approval. See more details here: https://www.irb.cornell.edu/faq/#gq3). You also should set targets for delivering drafts/updates to your advisor.
  6. Attached to your proposal, you need to include a letter signed by your advisor confirming their ability to oversee your project and confirming that you have jointly agreed upon the application and timeline.

Honors Degree Requirements

B. Final Submission for Review and Approval Requirements:

Honors theses should be written in accordance with formatting required for any standard journal within the appropriate field. Distinction in research is awarded upon approval of the research honors thesis by the committee. Both the results of the research and the methodology (or the logical argument by which the results were achieved) must be reported. Reviews of the literature, practical conclusions or applications, or broad characterizations of an area of inquiry may constitute part of the research report, but are not themselves sufficient as research.

The committee recommends the submission of the thesis draft to the research advisor two months before graduation to permit sufficient time for revision.

Completed theses are due approximately one month before graduation, on the third Friday of April:

May Graduate Timeline

Academic Year 2021-2022
Final theses due 15 April 2022

Academic Year 2022-2023
Final theses due 21 April 2023

Academic Year 2023-2024
Final theses due 19 April 2024

One electronic copy of the final thesis (in pdf or Word format) should be sent by email to the Social Sciences program area faculty committee chair no later than the due date. A supporting letter from the faculty member supervising the work must be submitted either electronically or as a hard copy.

The thesis will be independently reviewed typically by the faculty committee members, and external reviewers where appropriate, within about two weeks. If further revisions are required, students will be informed and a revised draft will be requested.

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.

We also recommend students to consult the following resources as they prepare their thesis drafts: