ENVS does not universally require senior independent work but some foci within ENVS do. ENVS majors who pursue senior independent study through a department that is part of their focus should follow the rules established by that department. Students wishing to pursue honors in ENVS however, must carry out a project that is pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment; that is supervised by at least one faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the environmental studies program; and that is presented publicly. In consultation with the thesis committee, students may present as part of the Spring Research Symposium or as a separate event arranged within the department or the ES Program. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors early so that they understand these requirements.
Majors who are not required to complete independent senior work in their focus may, in consultation with and approval of an advisor, apply to complete (optional) senior independent work in ENVS.
Senior work in ENVS may be the following:
- A one-term senior project (ENVS 0700),
- A multi-term senior thesis (ENVS 0700/0701)
Note that all senior independent work within ENVS begins as ENVS 0700. Senior independent work may be research-oriented, readings-oriented, or creative in nature.
Rules and Requirements
- Topic Requirement. Senior independent work carried out in ENVS or toward honors eligibility in Environmental Studies must be on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment
- Advisor Affiliation. Senior independent work carried out in ENVS or toward honors eligibility must be supervised by at least one faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program.
- Seeking an Advisor. Students must choose and consult with a research advisor in the term prior to beginning the work.
- ES Director Approval. Approval of the ES Director is required to enroll in ENVS 0700 and is granted on the basis of an independent work proposal. The proposal is to be developed in consultation with the research advisor and submitted via ENVS 0700 web form (forms are due one week prior to the start of class registration). The project proposal must include the following:
- Name of research advisor
- An outline of the intended project, including how it is pertinent to the relationship between humans and environment
- The nature of the work and any final products
- Whether the work is anticipated to be carried out as a one-semester project or as a multi-term thesis.
- Considering Thesis Possibilities. If a student intends for the 700-project to advance to a thesis, the feasibility and any expectations associated with a potential thesis option should be discussed with the advisor(s) prior to enrolling in ENVS 700. It is not guaranteed at this point that a 700-project will be approved to advance to a multi-term thesis.
Additional Rules and Requirements
All the rules and requirements described above for all types of senior work apply also to senior thesis work. Additional rules and requirements specific to theses are as follows:
- Multi-term Thesis. ENVS thesis students complete one or two terms of senior independent study (ENVS 0700) plus one term of senior thesis (ENVS 0701).
- Committee Support to Advance to Thesis. Advancing to the senior thesis (ENVS 0701) requires successful completion of ENVS 0700, convening of a thesis committee, and support from the committee to advance. 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 0701is decided on the basis of this meeting.
- Thesis Committee Membership. Committees for a senior thesis must include, at a minimum, one primary advisor and a second reader, at least one of whom is appointed in or affiliated with the ES Program.
- ES Director Approval. Students who have committee support to enroll in ENVS 0701 must submit a brief project proposal, via the ENVS 0701 (thesis) web form (forms are due one week prior to the start of class registration), to the ES Director for final approval. The project proposal includes:
- The names of the research advisor(s) and/or second reader
- An outline of the intended thesis project, including how it pertains to the relationship between humans and environment (both types of theses)
- The nature of the work and final product (typically a written thesis)
- The intended plan for public presentation of the final product (see below)
- Public presentation of thesis work. All students completing an ENVS senior thesis must present their work publicly. In consultation with the thesis committee, students may present as part of the Spring Research Symposium or as a separate event arranged with the committee and ES Program.
- Oral defense. Thesis students must orally defend their thesis work before their thesis committee. The oral defense will take place during the first week of the final exam period (or during the final week of Winter Term) and scheduled in consultation with the thesis committee.
For ENVS students writing an ENVS thesis (rather than a thesis in a focus department), please follow the guidelines below for format and deadlines.
Important Thesis Deadlines
Thesis writers will submit a final version of their thesis to their advisors and second readers by the deadlines below, giving sufficient time for the advisor and reader to review the thesis before the scheduled defense.
For a student completing a thesis in Fall or Spring terms, the thesis is due, and the student should email the final version to the advisor and second reader by 4 pm on the last day of the 10th week of scheduled classes that term (10th of 12 weeks, not counting breaks). For students completing a thesis in Winter, with a defense scheduled in the last week of winter term, students will email the final version to the advisor and second reader by 4pm one full week (7 days) before the end of winter term classes. If Winter Term ends on a Friday, the thesis is due the previous Friday; if ending on a Thursday, the thesis is due the previous Thursday, etc.
After completing the defense, if a student wishes to make any minor corrections, they may do so within 24 hours, and then email the final version, with the signed title page, to the ENVS coordinator and to the advisor. Again, the final version should include a title page and honor code stated and signed.
Format and Citation
Please format your thesis in a readable 12 pt. font, with double spacing, and 1 inch margins minimum. The final version should have a title page and the honor code stated and signed (example here).
Most disciplines within Environmental Studies have a preferred system for citations (notes and bibliography or works cited). All students must consult with their primary advisor and agree on the appropriate scholarly citation system. Generally the citation systems are preferred as follows:
Economics, Political Science, Art History, History, Anthropology, Religious Studies: Chicago Manual of Style.
Biology, Earth and Climate Sciences: CSE (Council of Science Editors).
Environmental Health, Psychology: APA.