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 early in the first semester of their senior year; however, they are encouraged to make arrangements and discuss research ideas with a faculty member during the second semester of their junior year. Students are required to submit applications and thesis proposals to the appropriate office in accordance with their program area procedures and deadlines (view by clicking the program area links in the left sidebar). 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.

NOTE: The submission deadline for fall 2019 applicant review is

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2019 by 3:00 PM –

However, confirm your program area's internal deadline as it may occur prior to OAP's deadline.

To complete the application form, signatures of approval are required in the following order: faculty research mentor and research honors program area chair. Once the college registrar verifies each student’s GPA, the CALS Research Honors Program Committee gives final approval of all qualified applicants, officially enrolling them in the honors program. Additional requirements for application and completion of the honors program are specified by each program area.

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.” 

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

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

  • 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 task should be accomplished by the second semester of 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 - Undergraduate Research in Animal Science.
  • Participate in ANSC 4020 Seminar in Animal Sciences 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 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.

Details pertaining to the specific requirements of the program can be obtained from Dr. Quirk, Department of Animal Science, 434 Morrison Hall.

The Honors Program in Biological Sciences is designed to offer advanced training in laboratory and field research through the performance of an original research project under the direct guidance of a member of the Cornell faculty. Honors candidates learn first-hand how to be professional scientists including first authoring a thesis manuscript. The application for the Honors Program must be submitted to the Honors Program Committee at the end of the student’s junior year. Application forms for the Honors Program are separate from the enrollment forms for BIOG 4990, Independent Research in Biology. For more information, visit biology.cornell.edu/research/honors.

Faculty committee: Rachel Prentice, chair

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. To qualify for the Biology & Society Research Honors Program, a student must have:

  • An overall Cornell cumulative GPA of at least 3.3
  • Formulated a research topic
  • Identified a project supervisor (with a Cornell academic appointment)
  • Selected a Biology & Society faculty member willing to serve as his or her advisor

Applications will be reviewed by a committee lead by the director of undergraduate studies, who will directly notify students of the outcome. Students will be permitted to register for the research honors program only by permission of the department. 

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; ALS 4990, Undergraduate Research in Agriculture and Life Sciences; or HE 4991–4992, Honors Project I and II.
  • Carry out research and write a thesis satisfactory to the student’s special committee. Students must attend the honors seminar during the fall semester.
  • Students may volunteer to publish their 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

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 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

More information about the honors program is available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill Hall (255-6047).

Faculty Committee: lmh13 [at] cornell.edu (L. Humphries), 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.

Academic Year 2018-2019

For Spring Graduates:

  • Proposals due September 13, 2018
  • Final theses due April 19, 2019

For Fall Graduates:

  • Proposals due February 14, 2019
  • Final theses due November 15, 2019

Academic Year 2019-2020

For Spring Graduates:

  • Proposals due September 19, 2019
  • Final theses due April 17, 2020

For Fall Graduates:

  • Proposals due February 14, 2020
  • Final theses due November 19, 2020

Academic Year 2020-2021
For Spring Graduates:

  • Proposals due September 17, 2020
  • Final theses due April 16, 2021

For Fall Graduates:

  • Proposals due February 18, 2021
  • Final theses due November 19, 2021

Academic Year 2021-2022

For Spring Graduates:

  • Proposals due September 16, 2021
  • Final theses due April 15, 2022

For Fall Graduates:

  • Proposals due February 17, 2022
  • Final theses due November 18, 2022

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 Lee Humphreys (lmh13 [at] cornell.edu).

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 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.

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 his or her academic advisor, preferably during 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 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.

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 midterm of the semester in which the student will complete his or her graduation requirements.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. The approved honors theses will be bound and housed in the Entomology Library in Comstock Hall.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

The complete text of this section can be found here.

Program coordinator: cmk4 [at] cornell.edu (Colleen M. Kearns), chair

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

Application Requirements and Procedures

Most students in the program engage in research for multiple years to learn the iterative nature of research. Students should 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, either orally or via a poster, in a special symposium in May.

Students should adhere to the following schedule:

Junior Year

  1. Identify a thesis advisor and research topic.
  2. Apply to the ESS Honors Program by the end of junior year. Email environment [at] cornell.edu for details.

Senior Year

  1. ESS 4990 - Undergraduate Research, can be added (in consultation with the research advisor) to receive credit for research work done in fall and/or spring. Enroll in research credits using the CALS Special Studies form available online.
  2. By the end of the junior year:  Submit a thesis proposal in an online application available on the ESS Honor page.
  3. April 15: Target formal thesis submission date.
  4. By the end of classes, students will receive thesis feedback and have an opportunity to revise work.
  5. By the end of finals: Submit final version of thesis.
  6. Candidates participate in and present the findings of their thesis project in an honors symposium scheduled in May.
  7. 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 ESS honors program coordinator.
  8. 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.

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 julia.felice [at] cornell.edu (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 julia.felice [at] cornell.edu (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 julia.felice [at] cornell.edu (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.

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, 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: tls1 [at] cornell.edu) the following documents:
    1. An application form (available at cals.cornell.edu/academics/student-research/honors/).
    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 here).

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 (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 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 - TBA
  • 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 - TBD

Faculty Committee: sh104 [at] cornell.edu (S. Giroux), chair; pme7 [at] cornell.edu (P. M. Eloundou-Enyegue)and jifft [at] cornell.edu (J. Ifft)

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, 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. Sarah Giroux, 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 4th Thursday of the fall semester to the Social Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator. (For December graduates, the proposal will be due the 4th Thursday 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 2019-2020
Proposals due 19 September 2019
Academic Year 2020-2021
Proposals due 17 September 2020
Academic Year 2021-2022
Proposals due 16 September 2021

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:

May Graduate Timeline
Academic Year 2019-2020
Final theses due 17 April 2020
Academic Year 2020-2021
Final theses due 16 April 2021
Academic Year 2021-2022
Final theses due 15 April 2022

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 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 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: