The Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences offers students with a GPA of 3.6 or better the opportunity to graduate with Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences.

In order to graduate with the Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences distinction, students must complete the following research program in a timely manner:

  • Identify a faculty advisor and form a three-member thesis committee by the end of the Spring semester of their Sophomore or Junior year by completing the intent form.
  • Submit a research proposal to the thesis committee by June 1, which will be reviewed and accepted or rejected by August 1.
  • Successful applicants will have two years to complete 8 SH of research with their faculty advisor:
    • The first 4 SH of research may be completed in any of the following courses: ENVR 4970 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 1), ENVR 4971 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 2), ENVR 4992 (Directed Study), ENVR 4993 (Independent Study), ENVR 5984 (Research), ENVS 4970 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 1), ENVS 4971 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 2), ENVS 4992 (Directed Study), ENVS 4993 (Independent Study), BIOL 4970 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 1), BIOL 4971 (Junior/Senior Honors Project 2), BIOL 4991 (Research), BIOL 4992 (Directed Study), or BIOL 4993 (Independent Study).
    • The second 4 SH MUST be completed by registration in ENVR 4970, ENVR 4971, BIOL 4970, BIOL 4971, ENVR 4997 (Senior Thesis) or ENVS 4997 (Senior Thesis) and completion of a thesis.
    • The two Honors courses may not be taken concurrently.
    • Students who intend to use their Honors Thesis to satisfy the University’s NU Core Capstone requirement should be very careful to select either ENVR 4997 or ENVS 4997 as the second Honors course.
    • Students completing the requirements for the final 4 SH must have senior standing.
  • Submit the thesis on April 1.
  • Defend the thesis by April 15.
  • Submit the final thesis revisions by April 30.

Components of the Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences program

  • Research proposal: The proposal should clearly articulate the rationale for the research and provide sufficient information for the thesis committee to assess its feasibility. The proposal should adhere to the following format:
    • Maximum of three pages; single-spaced; Arial font size 10; 1” margins on all sides
    • Sections:
      • Title
      • Background
      • Rationale & Hypotheses
      • Objectives
      • Methods
      • References
      • Anticipated timeline
  • Thesis: The thesis should describe the results of the research in the form a scientific manuscript. Specifically, the thesis should adhere to the formatting guidelines for an Article in the journal Ecology (see details at
    • A maximum length of 30 pages, including everything from the title page to figures and tables
    • Sections:
      • Title page
      • Abstract and keywords
      • Introduction
      • Materials and Methods
      • Results
      • Discussion
      • Acknowledgements
      • Literature Cited
      • Tables
      • Figure legends
      • Figures
  • Thesis defense: The public thesis defense will consist of a 30-minute presentation by the student describing the main findings of the research followed by a question period during which the thesis committee will make comments and suggestions about the project.

Evaluation and outcomes

  • All thesis committee members must approve both the thesis and the thesis defense for students to earn the Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences distinction upon graduation.
  • In the unlikely event of failure at the defense stage, students will receive 8SH of credits for independent studies research but no Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences distinction.
  • Note that the Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences distinction is different from the ‘University Honors Program.

Funding opportunities for undergraduate research

Students who enroll in the Honors in Marine and Environmental Sciences program should discuss applying for undergraduate awards to fund their research with their faculty advisor. These include:

Click here to complete the Honors in the Discipline Intention Form. This form will inform COS Undergraduate Student Services of your intentions to complete the Honors in the Discipline requirements.