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Upper Division Honors Program Juniors & Seniors

The Upper Division Honors Program provides opportunities for junior and senior students to complete intensive research and creative projects under the guidance of faculty, emphasizing and encouraging holistic and multidisciplinary awareness of the problems and opportunities in studying the environment. The subject matter and type of thesis or project is intentionally left open to the student(s) and their advisors. ESF students enrolled in all academic departments and programs are eligible to participate in the ESF Honors Program.


Normally, students will be invited to join the Upper Division Honors Program. Invitations will be sent to all students with a minimum cumulative grade point requirement of at least a 3.500 and have earned a minimum of 60 credits of lower-division course work. These credits include any courses taken while matriculated at ESF and any transfer courses accepted toward the ESF degree. Any student with a GPA of less than 3.500 but greater than 3.000 who has identified what they believe to be a significant research project and has a faculty mentor in place may apply to the Upper Division Honors Program. They will need to supply supporting material including a short research proposal and a letter of recommendation from their faculty mentor. Eligible and interested students may also contact the Directors of the Honors Program or their department's representative to the Honors Council to officially join the Program at any time they are eligible. The Directors of the Honors Program will inform the Registrar.

All students who conduct honors research are eligible to apply for research funding awards of up to $500 per year for a maximum of two years in support of expenses related to their thesis or project. They must provide a budget listing expected or expended expenses approved by their adviser to a Director of Honors. In addition, Upper Division Honors students are eligible to compete for Honors Internships.

  • Honors Internships — These are paid internships (of up to $5000) to support semester long or summer work or research experiences sponsored by an appropriate organization outside of ESF.

Program Requirements

Students in the thesis program must complete degree requirements with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.500 or 3.000 for the accepted applicants) for all upper division courses and the following coursework:

  • Two courses that contribute directly to the honors thesis/project. These courses must be either: a) In the student's major or a related area at the 400-, 500- or 600-level and must not be a requirement for that major (Students admitted to the ESF Honors Program are eligible to enroll in appropriate courses numbered 600 to 699 with faculty permission. (Students admitted to the ESF Honors Program are eligible to enroll directly in appropriate courses numbered 600 to 699 with faculty permission); or b) An enhanced or graduate level version of a required upper division course.
  • A total of 3-5 credits of honors thesis/project (ESF 499, 1-5 credits) with a grade of B or better.
  • Students must supplement their work with a presentation of their research at the Spotlight on Student Research, a scholarly meeting, a formal class or a departmental seminar, and an honors review committee (advisor and second reader).

Academic Standing

Honors students will be deemed "in good standing in honors" when they demonstrate steady progress in fulfilling program requirements and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher (or have completed an approved honors thesis and achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher for special applicants). Each semester, the Honors Program Directors will assess students' progress and students who are not in good standing will be informed in writing. Students who maintain good standing in honors will have early registration privileges and may enroll in honors sections of courses at ESF and SU.