|Thesis prep: required courses, finding a thesis advisor, timing, and study abroad considerations
All HCOL students in RSENR take ENVS 201 (Research Methods, 3 credits), regardless of program or major. This course covers research methods, project design, and thesis planning, and culminates in the preparation of a literature review and thesis proposal. ENVS 201 is offered in both semesters, and ideally is taken in the second semester of junior year. Students who are abroad in the spring of their junior year should take it in the fall.
RSENR Honors students are also required to take NR 199 (Honors Seminar, 1 credit) during the spring of their junior year. Those spending spring semester abroad during junior year may arrange to take NR 199 during their sophomore year or senior year.
While RSENR students may choose a thesis advisor through these courses, students most frequently identify their advisors through specialized coursework in their program and major.
Students planning to study abroad during their junior year should consult with their advisors and the Rubenstein Honors College coordinator, Associate Dean Nate Sanders (Nathan.Sanders@uvm.edu) to plan ahead for completing required courses. ENVS students planning to study abroad should consult with Kevin Chu (Kevin.Chu@uvm.edu) in the Environmental Program offices.
|Thesis proposal: materials required, proposal timeline & deadlines
The thesis proposal is written in the ENVS 201 course. The proposal must be approved by the instructor of ENVS 201, and by the student's thesis advisor. The proposal is graded, and an Honors student must receive a grade of A- or better on the proposal in order to proceed.
In the unusual event that the proposal is not approved in the semester in which ENVS 201 is taken, the thesis proposal must be approved no later than November 1st preceding a May graduation or June 1st of the same calendar year for December graduates.
|The thesis: structure, timing, and enrollment
In the senior year, six credits of thesis research are required. These six credits are usually evenly divided between semesters, but may be allocated in the way that best fits the project and the student's schedule.
The courses taken for thesis credits will vary by major. RSENR/HCOL students in Environmental Studies (ENVS) enroll in six credits of ENVS 202. (ENVS 202 is a course run by the Environmental Program and designed for ENVS students working on their senior capstone. Note: HCOL students writing an ENVS thesis should enroll in ENVS 202 section A, B, or C. Section D is for students pursuing a capstone internship.)
RSENR/HCOL students in other majors will enroll in six credits of 299 in their own discipline, as follows: ENSC 299, FOR 299, NR 299, PRT 299, or WFB 299.
Students must assemble a three-person thesis committee, consisting of the advisor and two other committee members. At least one member of the committee must be in the student's major program. One member of the committee may be from off campus, if that person has special expertise related to the project. The committee should be formed no later than October 1 preceding a May graduation (or June 1 of the same calendar year, for December graduates).
When thesis credits are spread across multiple semesters, students making satisfactory progress towards completion of the thesis in the first semester are awarded a grade of Satisfactory Progress (SP) for their first semester of thesis research, and course credit is awarded. (Unsatisfactory Progress receives a grade of UP, and no credit is awarded.) When the student earns a final thesis grade, the instructor assigns that grade for all thesis credits.
The temporary SP grade does not affect a student's GPA. Once the final thesis grade is entered and the earlier SP is converted to a standard letter grade, that letter grade is calculated as part of the GPA.
A final thesis grade of A- or better is required for RSENR/HCOL students to receive Honors College Scholar designation.
|Thesis due date
Both a public presentation (open to the University community) and an oral defense (before the student's committee) of the thesis are required of RSENR students writing the thesis. Typically, both will take place in a single event, with the committee defense following the public presentation. The defense must take place prior to the first day of final exams in the semester of graduation.
RSENR/ENVS students must submit the defense draft of the thesis to their evaluators by April 15 for May graduation, or November 15 for December graduation. For more information.
RSENR/HCOL students who are writing the thesis in other majors must submit the defense draft of their thesis to the committee at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense date.
|Notes, web resources, and thesis contact in the college
RSENR/HCOL students who are not ENVS majors should contact RSENR Associate Dean Nate Sanders (Nathan.Sanders@uvm.edu) with any questions about completing thesis requirements, and may also visit here.
RSENR ENVS students should contact Student Services Coordinator Kevin Chu (Kevin.Chu@uvm.edu), or Brendan Fisher, the ENVS 202 thesis/project coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org), and may also visit here.
Note that ENVS requirements listed on this page are specific requirements only for RSENR students. ENVS students in other UVM colleges should consult those colleges' thesis requirements.