Independent and original research is a valuable part of an undergraduate education in Geology, and all majors complete a research project during their senior year. Senior research is a year-long program of independent research that culminates in a formal written thesis and oral presentation. The research is carried out in close cooperation with a faculty advisor, although the responsibility for successfully completing the project lies with the student. Senior research is your opportunity to explore a particular subdiscipline of geology in detail and to apply the research skills that you have mastered in your geology coursework to a specific research question that you find fascinating.
Honors research is a year-long program of research and study that students with a keen interest in the earth sciences might want to consider. Honors research is intended to be a self-motivated and self-driven project. Honors research entails 1) writing and presenting a strong research proposal, 2) data collection throughout the academic year (and commonly during the summer), 3) a comprehensive written examination based on course work, and 4) a thesis and final presentation to a faculty committee and the department. How does Honors research (GEO 495-496) differ from senior research (GEO 491-2)? The simple answer is that Honors research requires more time, a greater commitment, and a few more challenges than Senior research.