One of the strengths of the Geology program at William & Mary is the requirement that students complete an independent research project during their senior year. While all majors are required to complete a research project and submit a thesis, students who wish and meet the requirements may complete Honors theses upon the successful completion of a defense. Check out recent student research featured in W&M News.
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 491-492)? The simple answer is that Honors research requires more time, a greater commitment, and a few more challenges than Senior research.
Completed Senior & Honors Theses
Completed Senior Theses submitted since 2021 are available for download through Swem Library at W&M ScholarWorks. For theses before 2021, please contact the department directly.
Completed Honors projects are available through the Charles Center and theses submitted since 2014 are also available for download through Swem Library at W&M ScholarWorks. For theses before 2014, please contact the department directly.
The following students submitted a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Geology from William & Mary:
Meara Carlin, "Analysis of surface features on Jupiter's moon Europa: Complex fracture history of the Bright Plains Region"
Heather Christensen, "Radon risk mapping using uranium series geochemistry and social vulnerability in the North Carolina Coastal Plain" (Honors)
Edward Clarke, "Distinguishing tooth morphotypes from a microvertebrate assemblage from the Chinle Formation (Late Triassic, Arizona) helps chronicle ecological differentiation of archosauromorphs"
Allison Dorsey, "Stratigraphic Distribution and Source of Radon in the Yorktown Formation (Virginia)"
Sarah Gianturco, "Rates and drivers of benthic respiration in an Arctic coastal lagoon"
Parker D. Jackowski, "Oyster Morphology in Middle Woodland Middens and Late Woodland Pits at the Shelly Archaeological Site (Southeastern Virginia)"
Jordan Kenney, "Assessing watershed understanding through place-based learning"
Chloe Lund, "Highlighting groundwater use by trees in a forested watershed in the Virginia Coastal Plain"
Jennie Mullen, "The Impact of a Retention Pond on Downstream Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions"
Zach Price, "Geospatial analysis of 1969 Hurricane Camille in Nelson County, Virginia"
Payton Reidy, "Geophysical Surveys of Soapstone and Nelsonite Bodies in Virginia’s Eastern Blue Ridge"
Danni Riggs, "Characterizing hydrological and geomorphological changes in urban streams through environmental signals"
Braden Rountree, "Surficial geology of the Cub Creek drainage basin, Virginia Blue Ridge"
Morgan Sanders, "The Foundations of Highland: a geological analysis of James Monroe's Highland"
Lauren Schmidt, "Reconstructing Ice Cap Changes in Northern Greenland Using Proglacial Lake Sediments"
John Small, "Effect of Marsh Migration on Coastal Forest Litter Decomposition"
Vera Soltes, "The effect of varying soil and hydrologic conditions on GPR interpretations to detect unmarked graves in Colonial Williamsburg" (Honors)
Natalie M. Spage,"Metabolic rate as a predictor of molluscan abundance across the Mid- Pliocene Warm Period in the Virginia Coastal Plain"
Hannah Tebbens, "The age and origin of nelsonite in the central Virginia Blue Ridge" (Honors)
Olivia Wachob, "From the Iapetus to the Atlantic: Geology, Geochronology, and Petrology of the eastern Blue Ridge cover sequence, central Virginia" (Honors)
Quincy Wilkins, "Measuring Uranium Levels in Fossils in the Yorktown Formation to Determine Radon Risk Potential"