Thesis/ENVR 450 Guidelines

Getting Started

An Environmental Studies major culminates in a polished piece of written work for either a scholarly or public audience.  In either case, the written piece builds upon the course work and other experiences of your ES concentration and receives credit for the W3 requirement. You should explore a topic of interest in great depth and with all the relevant intellectual tools at your disposal. As a culminating project, your W3 is an extension and outgrowth of all your previous work and studies in ES. You should select a topic that will allow you to make the most of the skills, knowledge, and ideas you have acquired as an ES major, particularly those gained in your ES concentration.

As an ES major, you have a number of W3 options. You may apply to do a one semester thesis during either the fall or winter term, a two-semester honors thesis, a two-semester non-honors thesis, or to complete ENVR 450, Environmental Writing in the Public Sphere.You should discuss your options with your concentration advisor and potential thesis advisors to determine which option is best for you and your proposed topic.

Students submit proposals for their W3 work in the winter semester of their Junior year. The ES Committee evaluates the proposals and makes the ultimate decision on what you will do to complete your W3 including whether you will complete ENVR 450 or a thesis, and, if you complete a thesis, whether you will do a one or two-semester thesis, the semester in which a one-semester thesis will be written, and whether or not you may pursue honors. Doing an honors thesis requires exceptional effort and dedication, and there are several steps in this process.  See the section on Honors Theses in Environmental Studies for the full details.

NOTE: The quality of the W3 application will determine which option a student is permitted to pursue.  If the application is not of sufficient quality, the student will not be assigned to a W3 option and will not be eligible to register for the W3.  Failure to submit an acceptable application ultimately may prevent graduation. To prevent this situation, write a strong application that clearly identifies your research topic, indicates the appropriateness of your research within your chosen concentration, and shows your familiarity with relevant scholarly literature in the field.  See Thesis/ENVR450 Application for details.