Thesis/ENVR 450 Application
(Due the second Monday in March by 8:00 a.m.)
The ES Committee requires each student majoring in ES to submit an application for how they would like to complete their W3: either through writing a thesis for a scholarly audience or by completing ENVR 450, Environmental Writing in the Public Sphere, where the written product is directed at a public audience. This application is written in the winter semester of the junior year. In either case, the application should contain a topic statement a description of how the project relates to the major concentration, an annotated bibliography of sources related to the topic, and a list of relevant course work. In the case of the thesis, the application also requires a research question and rationale and names of possible thesis advisor(s). For ENVR 450, the application also requires a written rationale for why the topic is particularly appropriate for a public audience and a consideration of the different styles or genres that might be suitable for presentation of the chosen topic.
In either case, the topic statement must include background information or context and identify your specific subject of investigation. In the case of the thesis, the research question must be accompanied by a short rationale for why this question is interesting and important. At this point, your question is likely to be tentative and may change as you become more familiar with scholarship in the field, however we expect that your rationale will cite scholarly literature about your topic or methods that are relevant to approaching your topic. For the ENVR 450 application, you must make a case for why this topic is well suited for presentation through your chosen genre. In both cases, you may find it helpful to think explicitly about what kind of sources or information you would need to answer a question or craft an argument about your topic—and then think about whether you might be able to obtain or explore what is needed within the constraints of a semester-long project. Your application must also include a short explanation of how your thesis topic fits within the larger aims of your ES concentration. This section—including the topic, question, general approach, rationale, and place of this work within your concentration—should be one single-spaced page in length.
All applications must include an annotated bibliography, consisting of condensed (not superficial) summaries of four to six scholarly reference works, books, articles, and/or primary documents specifically pertinent to your topic. Give full bibliographic citations for each source. Annotations identify the writer’s purpose, central question or problem, main argument, and note the kind of evidence or strategy used to arrive at that conclusion. If you are citing a source that contains an abstract, do not simply repeat the contents of the abstract. Instead, pay careful attention to the form of the argument made in the source and the evidence used to support that argument. Indicate the applicability of each work to your research in content as well as approach.
For thesis applications, include the names of one or more potential thesis advisors, and indicate whether or not you have discussed your thesis ideas with these potential advisors. Keep in mind that potential thesis advisors include faculty outside of the ES program. For both thesis and ENVR 450 applications, provide a list of all your ES courses and any other relevant work you have done.
Your completed application is uploaded and submitted electronically to the ES Committee using the Thesis/ENVR 450 Application Submission Form .
Please note: These applications are crucial to the ES committee in its planning for the following year. A poorly written, incomplete, or missing application will mean that your W3 plans cannot receive serious consideration; it will likely leave you without useful feedback and without permission to enroll in either option.