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A senior thesis or creative project is an in-depth inquiry that explores a question or topic of scholarship and contributes original thought to the field of study. 

  • The process:

    1. Complete NR 3990 in your Junior Year. (If you are in CALS HCOL, you may take CALS 2990 instead of NR 3990). Please note that NR 3990 is only offered in the Fall semester, beginning in Fall 2021.  If you cannot take NR 3990 in your Junior Year, you may take it in your Senior Year. (We highly recommend Junior Year because this will allow you to complete your proposal before the deadline. If you take the class in your Senior Year, you will have to submit a proposal about five weeks into the class.)
    2. Secure a Thesis Advisor. This is a faculty member who will support you throughout your thesis process (this person is normally different than your Academic Advisor). You must have a Thesis Advisor to do a thesis. Your Thesis Advisor does not need to be an ENVS faculty member, but they must agree to support your thesis work.
    3. Submit 8-page proposal according to ENVS Thesis Proposal Guidelines (note: for CAS-HCOL students the guidelines are the same). ENVS uses the CAS deadlines, so your proposal must be submitted by the deadlines posted here (in the “Important Dates” sidebar; use the deadlines that match your graduation date). If you plan to conduct summer research, you should submit by the April deadline. Submit to and your Thesis Advisor.
    4.  Your Thesis Advisor will evaluate the proposal. They must approve the proposal and confirm that they will support you in the work.
    5. If this is an Honor’s College (HCOL) thesis: You must create a committee of three advisors. One of these three advisors will be the person you have already secured as your lead Thesis Advisor. In addition, one of these three advisors/committee members must be a fulltime ENVS faculty or affiliate; see list here.
    6. Fill out the Thesis Declaration Form (side bar, this page).
    7. If your Thesis Advisor approves your thesis, sign up for 6 credits of ENVS 4500 with that person; this can be split across semesters. [If your Thesis Advisor is not an ENVS faculty member, you can sign up for 6 credits with Rachelle Gould, and she will communicate with your Thesis Advisor to secure a grade.]
    8. Consult with your Thesis Advisor to ensure research falls within Human Subject and Animal Welfare Protocols. If your project involves people or laboratory animals and it meets the specifications for needing ethical approval, submit and receive approval from the IRB or IACUC (types of project that need approval are listed here for research involving humans and here for research involving laboratory animals (work with non-laboratory animals is not covered by IACUC); this is also discussed in NR 3990).
    9. Ensure the thesis is properly referenced. Make sure there are no issues with copyright infringement. In particular, ensure that all images appropriately cited and that, if necessary, you have secured permission to reproduce them. (Contact Laurie Kutner for help if necessary.)
    10. Submit a draft version of your thesis to your Thesis Advisor (or if you are an Honors student, to your three-person Committee) by April 1 (May Graduates) or November 1 (December Graduates).
    11. Submit the final version of your Thesis to your Thesis Advisor (or if in Honors, your Committee) by May 1 (or Dec. 1) and send them this evaluation form (side bar this page).
    12. Upload a final version of your thesis to the ENVS Thesis Collection in ScholarWorks @ UVM, following these directions. Questions about this process can be directed to Laurie Kutner. You will not receive a grade until you have submitted to ScholarWorks.

Forms and Resources

Declaration form

Advisor evaluation form

PDF icon Print authorization form

  • ENVS will cover the cost of printing and binding

File Spring 2021 Thesis Timeline Planner


• April 1st - submit a full draft of your thesis to your advisors (November 1st for Fall graduates)

• May 1st – submit a final copy of your thesis to your advisors and Scholar Works (December 1st for Fall graduates)