Senior Work in Environmental Studies

1. All Environmental Studies Majors are required to complete the Senior Seminar (ENVS 401), and to attend the weekly ES Colloquium in the same term. Note that all four ENVS core courses (ENVS 112, ENVS 211, ENVS 215, and GEOG 120) must be completed before a student may enroll in ENVS 401.

2. Senior Independent Work. In addition to ENVS 0401 and all other major requirements, students may, with appropriate approvals and in consultation with their advisor, pursue senior independent work within the ENVS program. Senior independent work carried out in ENVS must be on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment and be supervised by a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program. Students must choose and consult with an advisor in the term prior to beginning the work and, in consultation with their research advisor, submit a brief project proposal, via webform, to the Director of the Environmental Studies Program for approval prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700. The project proposal must outline the intended independent project, including explanation of how the topic is pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment; and the name of their research advisor; the nature of the work and any final products; and whether the work is anticipated to result in a senior thesis. Senior independent study projects may be research-oriented, readings-oriented, or creative in nature. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700, with appropriate approvals, up to twice.

If a student intends for the 700-project to continue into a thesis project, the feasibility and any expectations associated with a potential thesis option should be discussed with the advisor prior to enrolling in ENVS 700. Actual approval to conduct a thesis, however, is not guaranteed at this early date; rather approval to advance to a thesis is contingent on successful completion of ENVS 700 and the support of a thesis committee (see 3b. below).

ENVS majors may also pursue senior independent study through a department that is part of their focus. Some foci actually require this. Students pursuing this option are governed by all of the rules established by those departments. These students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors early so that they understand these requirements.

3. Senior Thesis

3a. Basic Requirements and Timeline

  • A.    A senior thesis carried out in ENVS must be on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment and be supervised by a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program.
  • B.    One or two terms of senior independent study (ENVS 0700) + one term of senior thesis (ENVS 0701) are required.
  • C.    If the scholarly work produced in the course of the thesis takes, in whole or part, a written form, the completed written thesis must be turned in to both the thesis advisor and a second reader by 5 pm on the Friday of the 11th week of classes in the term that the thesis is due (or the Friday of the 3rd week of classes in Winter Term). Other types of scholarly work (e.g., performance) will be performed on similar timeline, as agreed upon with the thesis committee (major advisor + second reader).
  • D.    Thesis Presentation: All students completing an ENVS senior thesis must present their work publically.
  • E.    An oral thesis defense with the thesis advisor, the second reader, and the student. The oral defense will take place during the first week of the final exam period (or during the final week of Winter Term). Thesis defenses will not be scheduled later than the first week after classes end.

3b. Thesis Procedures

  • A.    Committee support for advancing to thesis. Advancing to the senior thesis (ENVS 0701) requires successful completion of ENVS 0700, convening of a thesis committee (primary advisor and second reader), and support from the committee to advance to ENVS 0701. Accordingly, during the final term of ENVS 0700, students, in consultation with their research advisor, must designate a second reader to serve on their thesis committee. In the final weeks of their last term of ENVS 0700, students must meet with their thesis committee to present the project work-to-date and the plan for completion of the thesis. Committee support to enroll in ENVS 0701 will be decided on the basis of this meeting.
  • B.    Approval to enroll in ENVS 0701. Students who have committee support to enroll in ENVS 0701 and complete an ENVS thesis must, in consultation with their thesis committee, submit a brief project proposal, via webform, to the Director of the Environmental Studies Program for approval. The project proposal must include the names of the research advisor and second reader and outline the intended thesis project, including an explanation of how the topic is pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment; the nature of the final product (typically a written thesis); and the intended plan for public presentation of the final product.
  • C.    Completing the thesis. After receiving approval and registering for ENVS 0701, students complete the research or creative work, prepare their final written thesis or other product, present and defined their work, as required by their thesis advisor and program requirements (see section 3a).

4. Program Honors
In order to graduate with honors in the major, senior thesis project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment is required. The thesis may be completed within ENVS (see section 3) or in another department that is part of the student's focus (e.g., a geology thesis is required for an environmental geology focus) or part of a joint or double major. ENVS majors with a GPA of 3.33 or above in courses counting toward the major, who complete a thesis with a grade of "B+" or above, will graduate with Honors in the ENVS program. Courses counting toward the GPA in the major include core courses, cognate courses, focus courses, and ENVS 0401. If extra cognate or foci courses are taken, the highest grades counting towards completion of the major will count in calculating the final GPA for honors; thesis grades will not count in calculating the final GPA for honors.


 

 

 

Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753