Geological Sciences 209
1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific
person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?
The honors advisor administers the program under guidelines established
by the Department of Geological Sciences. There is no committee.
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program?
How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend
Superior students who maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher are encouraged to
participate in the departmental honors program. Our undergraduate
advisors inform students about the honors program and ask them to
consider entering it. The honors advisor circulates memos to
undergraduate majors and describes the program. Students certainly may
3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?
The student must undertake a research project that leads to a thesis,
completed before the end of the senior year and is examined orally by a
three-member faculty committee; the thesis defense is usually open (see
4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to
prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars
and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such
There are no specific courses for honors students in geology. A program
that includes directed reading and non-credit seminar and field work is
tailored for each student. Students may enroll for up to six credit
hours for research G499.
5. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or
research projects related to the senior project?
The Department has limited funds that can be used to support
undergraduate student research. We also encourage our honors students to
apply for funds from the Honors College.
6. What is the nature of the senior project and what are the
requirements for completing it?
Honors students complete a research project under the direction of a
Department of a Geological Sciences faculty member. The project must be
compatible with a minimum of three hours of credit with a satisfactory
thesis as evaluated by the advisor and two other faculty members. The
student then orally defends his/her thesis.
7. How might the work required for an honors degree be particularly
beneficial in future endeavors?
Nearly all professional work in geology requires solving problems,
preparing a written report of the solution, and orally explaining and
defending results of the project. The major benefit is in applying
knowledge gained in course work to solving some specific problem, and
experiencing first-hand the nature of research, i.e., learning by
8. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree
compared to a regular degree in your area?
The main advantage is in competition for admission to and for financial
support from renowned graduate schools. The project also gives students
a sample of what graduate school will be like, brings them to work
closely with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and the faculty
usually using sophisticated state-of-the-art instruments and
methodology. It also increases the employability of the student with a
9. Please list suggestions for other departments based on activities
that have worked well for your students.
Our program has been strongest when we support group activities for the
students (trips to geology museums, field projects conducted as a group,
informal seminars on controversial topics in geology, etc.) Publication
of research results and presentations at national meetings by
undergraduate students are other successful endeavors.
10. Explain the background of honors course offerings in your
discipline. When were honors courses or sections first offered? When
was your honors degree program instituted?
We have no special honors courses (except individualized reading) for our
honors students. Our
honors program has been in existence for at least twenty-five years.