Courses of Study 2020-2021 
    
    Nov 30, 2021  
Courses of Study 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Academic Options


In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .


Early Enrollment in Cornell Graduate Programs


Outstanding undergraduate students may be able to enroll for graduate study in the College of Veterinary Medicine or the SC Johnson College of Business prior to completion of their undergraduate program. To be considered, a student must:

  • Fulfill all distribution requirements for the College (e.g., humanities and social sciences, 55 CALS credits, etc.)
  • Earn a Bachelor of Sciences degree from CALS at the end of their fourth year.

College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell Accelerated 7-Year BS/DVM Program:

Information can be found directly on the College of Veterinary Medicine website. Students should begin the admissions process during fall of their sophomore year.  

Early Acceptance and Registration: The College of Veterinary Medicine may accept students who are permitted to register in their seventh and/or eighth semester and complete requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. All candidates should confirm eligibility with an advisor in CALS Office of Student Services, 140 Roberts Hall. 

Samuel Curtis Johnson College of Business
5-Year Bachelors/MBA
 

Information can be found directly on the SC Johnson College of Business website.  Students should begin the admissions process during fall of their Junior year and schedule an appointment with an advisor in CALS Office of Student Services to update their degree plan.

Concurrent Undergraduate Degree Option

The Concurrent Degree Program enables exceptional undergraduate students to take advantage of the breadth of academic study that is Cornell’s hallmark. The Concurrent Degree enables a student to build a unique curriculum around their special interests. Concurrent degree candidates may earn two distinct and independent degrees from both colleges but must satisfy all requirements for both degrees. Further information is located on the CALS Undergraduate Admissions website and the website of the Office of Internal Transfers and Concurrent Degrees.

Opportunities in Research


Undergraduate Research

Students at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences. One of the best ways for a student to gain knowledge beyond the textbook is to engage in original research. 

Many opportunities for research exist across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the University

Students may be able to work on a faculty member’s research project for pay. Opportunities can be identified by contacting individual faculty members or departmental offices. A second option is for students to receive credit through a 4990-level course within a department by conducting their own research project under a faculty mentor. Hundreds of students each year conduct research for credit.

Juniors and seniors usually have the course background to engage in research, but first-year students and sophomores also may be qualified to do some types of research. Off-campus research experiences are also available for pay or as internships.

Research Honors Program

The Research Honors Program provides students with a special opportunity to work with a faculty mentor to experience the research process. The bachelor of science degree with “distinction in research” is conferred upon those students who, in addition to having completed the requirements for the B.S. degree, have satisfactorily completed the honors program and have been recommended for the degree by the honors committee.

Research may be done in these program areas: animal sciences, biological sciences, biology & society, communication, entomology, environment and sustainability, information science, landscape studies, nutritional sciences, physical sciences, plant sciences, and social sciences. Students in any CALS major may be eligible to participate in any of these program areas. Each program area has its own requirements in addition to the college requirements. After reviewing the requirements of each program area (below), students’ questions may be directed toward the appropriate program area chair.

Visit Undergraduate Research Opportunities for information about identifying a research topic, conferring with a faculty member, and undergraduate funding opportunities.

Research Learning Outcomes 
Students will be able to:

  • Identify a question or topic requiring original research through critical examination of existing literature
  • Formulate the question into one or more testable hypotheses or central arguments and develop methods suitable to evaluate these hypotheses or arguments
  • Obtain information relevant to the hypotheses or arguments through effective use of contemporary methods and research techniques
  • Critically analyze the evidence obtained to refute or support the hypotheses or arguments
  • Integrate the findings of this research to the findings of others and to larger issues in the discipline
  • Communicate effectively through writing the thesis and oral or poster presentations

Honors Degree Requirements

Application Requirements and Procedures

An undergraduate wishing to enroll in the honors program must have completed a minimum of 55 credits, at least 30 while at Cornell. Additionally, the student must have a cumulative Cornell GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of entry, unless otherwise noted by a particular program.

Interested students should make arrangements and discuss research ideas with a faculty member during the second semester of their junior year. Students must submit an application and thesis proposal to the appropriate office in accordance with their program area procedures and deadlines. Knowing the deadlines and submission procedures for a particular program area is the student’s responsibility.

Applications

The CALS Research Honors Program Committee meets in the fall to give final approval of all qualified applicants, officially enrolling them in the honors program. Additional requirements for application and completion of the honors program are specified by each program area.

Honors Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in the honors program may earn credits for their research by enrolling in an independent research course (this course is not a requirement in all program areas). Funding opportunities are also available.

Students are required to present their research in the form of an oral presentation or poster session. Some departments have a seminar series during which honors presentations may be given; the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board (CURB) Forum is another possible venue for presentations.  Students should discuss presentation options with their faculty mentors.

In addition to a presentation, successful completion of the honors program requires a research report, written in the style of a master’s thesis or scholarly journal article. Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair. Thesis examples are available on the web; each program area chair may also be able to provide relevant examples.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Unless otherwise indicated within individual program area descriptions, theses should be submitted to the research program area committee no later than four weeks before the end of classes during the semester in which the student expects to graduate. Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences wishing to participate in the Research Honors Program are not eligible for “distinction in research” by participating in a program offered by another Cornell college or administrative unit.

The research honors committee for each program area then recommends to the college registrar those students who qualify for honors. Only those who maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and complete all of their honor requirements will be graduated with “distinction in research.”

More information is available on the CALS Research Honors Program website.

Honors Program Areas

Below are listed the CALS research honors program areas and their specific area requirements and deadlines.

Animal Sciences

Faculty committee: S. M. Quirk, chair; Y. R. Boisclair, D. J. Cherney, K. J. Czymmek, J. Gavalchin, H. J. Huson, P.A. Johnson, Q. M. Ketterings, J. W. McFadden, T. R. Overton, M.L. Thonney, E. T. Won

The objective of the animal sciences research honors program is to provide outstanding undergraduates with the opportunity to pursue supervised independent research and to develop an awareness of the scientific process. It is expected that the research will require significant effort and creative input by the student in its design and execution and in the reporting of the results.

Those students with majors in animal sciences who are interested in doing a research project should consult with their faculty advisors by their junior year. All students are expected to meet the college requirements in qualifying for the program and to complete the following:

  • Identify a potential research honors project sponsor (i.e., a faculty member at Cornell working in the animal sciences) and secure that faculty member’s commitment to sponsor the student in a research project. This should be accomplished by the second semester of the junior year or earlier. Students are encouraged to implement some research during the junior year and/or summer before the senior year.
  • Enroll in the Honors Program using the CALS application form within the first 6 weeks of the fall semester, senior year.
  • Register for ANSC 4990  if you wish to obtain course credit for your research.
  • Participate in ANSC 4020  during the spring semester of the senior year and report on and discuss the project and results.
  • Submit a written thesis to the Animal Sciences Research Honors Committee by the scheduled deadline (mid-April for May graduates). Specific information regarding deadlines, format, and organization for the thesis will be provided.
  • Meet with the Animal Sciences Research Honors Committee for a short oral defense of the thesis following a review of the thesis by the student’s mentor and the research committee.
  • Submit to the honors committee chair an electronic copy of the final approved thesis (in pdf or Word format) as well as a bound copy of the thesis.
  • Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  • Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Details pertaining to the specific requirements of the program can be obtained from Dr. Quirk, Department of Animal Science, 434 Morrison Hall.

Biological Sciences

Students interested in the Research Honors Program in the Biological Sciences should consult with their faculty advisors and with potential faculty research mentors early in their junior year. See Independent Research and Honors Program in the Biological Sciences section of this catalog for complete details. Information on faculty research, applications, and program requirements may be obtained from the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall, or at biology.cornell.edu/research/honors.

Biology & Society

Faculty committee: Malte Ziewitz, Director of Undergraduate Studies

The Research Honors Program in Biology & Society is designed to provide independent research opportunities for academically talented undergraduate students in Biology & Society. Students who enroll in this program are expected, with faculty guidance, to do independent study and research dealing with issues in biology and society. Students participating in the program should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding whether or not they intend to pursue a research career.

Biology & Society students are considered for entry into the research honors program at the end of the second semester of the junior year. Application forms for the program are available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill Hall. To qualify for the Biology & Society Research Honors Program, a student must have an overall Cornell cumulative GPA of at least 3.3, have formulated a research topic, and have found a project supervisor (with a Cornell academic appointment) and another faculty member willing to serve as their advisor. At least one of these must be a member of the Biology & Society major. Applications will be reviewed by a committee headed by the director of undergraduate studies, who will notify students directly of the outcome. Students will be permitted to register for the honors program only by permission of the department. Students must enroll for both the fall and spring semesters. They must attend the honors seminar during the fall semester. More information on the honors program is available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill.

Important Deadlines. Note: If the following dates fall on a weekend, the deadline is the preceding Friday.

  • Last week of second semester of the junior year: Application for honors program submitted to 303 Morrill Hall.
  • First Monday after Labor Day: a 1000- word thesis proposal with preliminary bibliography submitted to first reader.
  • End of first semester: students meet with first reader to decide whether to move forward.
  • March 7: First draft submitted to thesis advisor.
  • April 8-15: Thesis completed in a form satisfactory for evaluation and submitted to the three readers.
  • April 29-May 10: Thesis defense accomplished.
  • May 13: One bound copy of completed and defended thesis submitted to the Undergraduate Coordinator in 303 Morrill Hall.

Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Communication

Faculty Committee: Neil Lewis, Jr., chair

The research honors program in communication offers outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to work with a member of the communication faculty to pursue supervised independent research in the areas of media, technology, science, environment, health, persuasion, social influence, collaboration, intercultural communication, and other communication topics. The subject matter and nature of the research experience may be quite varied. Students participating should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding, whether or not they intend to pursue a research career. It is expected that the research will require significant effort by the student in its design and execution, and in reporting of the results. The Bachelor of Science degree with “distinction in research” is conferred to students who successfully complete an honors thesis in communication.

The guidance and supervision of a faculty member with substantial interest and expertise is essential to the success of the research honors project. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate field of communication. Students should enroll in COMM 4990 their senior year to receive course credit for their honors research work.

Timeline

For Spring Graduates:

  • Junior year: contact communication faculty to talk about research ideas and identify thesis advisor
  • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the fall semester.
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of April in the spring semester.

For Fall Graduates:

  • Junior year: contact communication faculty to talk about research ideas and identify thesis advisor
  • The proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the spring semester.
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of November in the fall semester.

Thesis Proposals

Students should work closely with their honors thesis advisor in developing their thesis proposals. The purpose of the proposal is twofold. First, it formalizes a plan of study and establishes a set of expectations between the student and the faculty advisor. Second, the Communication Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will facilitate a formal review of the proposal to determine whether it is consistent with honors thesis requirements and, in some cases, to make suggestions for improvement.

The proposal should be 5 to 10 typed, double-spaced pages and include the following:

  1. Research Topic: State the problem to be studied or the topic of interest. Review the basic literature and the background of the problem or topic; include a more extensive bibliography to be consulted.
  2. Research Questions/Empirical Hypotheses: Specify the proposed questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested empirically via collection of data and a mode of analysis accepted in the field of communication research.
  3. Research Methods: Discuss the models to be constructed (if any), sampling procedures, data collection procedures (including measurement instruments and survey or experimental designs, if appropriate), and proposed methods of analysis.
  4. Expected Significance: State what new knowledge or information is likely to be forthcoming and why it is important. State any practical applications expected as a result of the research.
  5. References

Theses

After the April deadline, the thesis will be independently reviewed typically by two faculty committee members within about two weeks. If further revisions are required, students will be informed and a revised draft will be requested. Students who successfully complete a communication honors thesis are often invited to present their research to the communication department in late April/early May.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

We also recommend students consult the following resource as they prepare their thesis drafts:

Application Submission

All proposals and theses should be uploaded and submitted to the Communication Undergraduate Program Coordinator through this online form.

Questions? Contact the Communication Director of Undergraduate Studies: Associate Professor Lee Humphreys. As of Dec. 2020: Assistant Professor Drew Margolin.

Entomology

Faculty committee: J. Sanderson, chair

The Program. A research honors program in entomology may be pursued by any qualified student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The student need not be majoring in entomology. Insects, because of their variety, small size, and easy availability, are convenient subjects for studying a wide array of problems in living systems. Short life cycles, unique physiologies and developmental patterns, and species with easily managed husbandry requirements and a wide range of behavioral traits provide the raw material for research honors study. Cornell’s diverse faculty interests and extensive collections in entomology are also major assets if a student selects entomology as the area for research honors study.

Research honors students have the option of earning academic credit by enrolling in ENTOM 4970 - Individual Study in Entomology  or ENTOM 4990 - Undergraduate Research in Entomology  during any semester while working toward a research honors thesis. Credits and grade option for satisfying requirements of the course should be discussed with the thesis advisor (below).

Note: Enrolling in an independent study course, either ENTOM 4970 - Individual Study in Entomology  or ENTOM 4990 - Undergraduate Research in Entomology  , is not a requirement for graduating with distinction in research honors in entomology.

Sequence of Requirements. The Entomology Research Honors Committee requires that an undergraduate who is interested in embarking on a research honors project proceed with the following steps:

  1. Discuss the matter with his or her academic advisor, preferably in the junior year. This schedule makes it possible to carefully plan a research project and implement some research during the junior year and/or summer before the senior year.
  2. Select an appropriate faculty member in the Department of Entomology who can serve as a supervisor to oversee the honors research. This need not be the student’s academic advisor. The academic advisor will be of assistance in determining which faculty member has expertise most compatible with the interests of the student.
  3. Discuss and develop a project with the honors project supervisor, ultimately resulting in a brief written plan. The plan should include a statement of objectives or hypotheses, proposed methods for testing the hypotheses and needs for laboratory space or shared equipment.
  4. Submit a completed application and proposal approved by the honors project supervisor (with signature) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than the end of the fifth week of the first semester of the senior year. Earlier submission is encouraged. Applications are available online.
  5. Submit a brief progress report, approved by the project supervisor (with signature), to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee by the fifth week of the semester in which the student will complete his or her graduation requirements.
  6. Present a formal seminar reporting the significant findings of the research to the Department of Entomology (as a Jugatae seminar) in the last semester of the senior year.
  7. Submit a digital copy in MSWord of the final honors thesis (as approved by the thesis supervisor, with signature) to the Chair of the Entomology Research Honors Committee no later than three weeks before the last day of classes in the semester in which the student anticipates graduation. The thesis will be reviewed by the faculty honors project supervisor and at least one other referee selected by the chair of the honors committee.
  8. Referees will return the thesis to the student one week before the last day of classes. If reviewers indicate that changes must be made, the revised thesis should be submitted to the Entomology Research Honors Committee Chair no later than the last day of the study break before final exams begin. Referees should include a recommendation to the Entomology Research Honors Committee Chair regarding acceptability of the honors thesis.
  9. Students may volunteer to submit electronically to the honors committee Chair a copy of their final approved thesis (in pdf or Word format) for Mann Library. Mann Library has given CALS the opportunity to have theses available to the public electronically if this does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in another journal. A permission form to allow the thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  10. Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

The complete text of this section can be found at https://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/undergraduate/research-honors-program/

Environment and Sustainability

Program coordinator: Colleen M. Kearns

Program Overview

If you find that you enjoy research and want the experience of being a manuscript author, consider the Environment & Sustainability Research Honors Program in your senior year. Some CALS honors programs require an application at the end of junior year (biological sciences, environment & sustainability, social sciences and nutrition). Your research field will guide you to which CALS honors program you should apply. See the list of fields at CALS Research Honors and ask your research mentor about the best fit for your work.

The research honors program in environment and sustainability involves original, independent research that generates novel findings in a breadth of disciplines spanning the social and physical sciences and humanities. Students are encouraged to understand and address contemporary environmental and sustainability issues through an interdisciplinary and integrated approach. Thesis candidates learn how to design and carry out research under the direct supervision and guidance of a thesis advisor.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to network early in the junior year with faculty instructors, advisors, and graduate teaching assistants to identify faculty doing work that aligns with their interests and career goals. Students doing research off campus rely on winter and summer breaks to collect data at their field sites.

In the senior year, candidates meet on a regular basis with their thesis advisor whose responsibility it is to guide and approve the thesis work.  Candidates will present the findings of their work in a special symposium in May.

Thesis Timeline

Thesis work is completed early in the senior spring semester. The thesis manuscript is submitted for formal review in mid-April. Once the thesis is formally accepted, CALS candidates graduate with Distinction in Research and A&S candidates receive Latin Honors with their diploma.

Junior Year

  1. Identify a thesis advisor and research topic.
  2. Apply to the E&S Honors Program by the end of junior year. Email environment@cornell.edu for details.

Senior Year

  1. ESS 4990 - Undergraduate Research can be added (in consultation with your research advisor) to receive credit for research work done in fall and/or spring. Enroll in research credits using the CALS Special Studies form. This is not a requirement of the E&S honors program.
  2. By the end of the junior year: Submit a thesis proposal in an online application available on the E&S Honors page.
  3. April 15: Target date for formal thesis submission for May graduates. December and August graduates should contact the E&S Program for details on their timelines.
  4. By the end of classes, students will receive thesis feedback and have an opportunity to revise work.
  5. By the end of finals: Submit final version of thesis.
  6. Candidates present the findings of their thesis project in an honors symposium scheduled in May.
  7. Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons, Cornell’s digital repository, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online in eCommons can be obtained from the E&S honors program coordinator.

Information Science

Students should follow the CALS social sciences guidelines to obtain research honors in information science.

Landscape Studies

Faculty committee: J. Vanucchi, chair

The research honors program in landscape studies offers outstanding undergraduates in CALS the opportunity to work with a member of the landscape architecture faculty to pursue supervised independent research in the cultural landscape, landscape archeology, environmental design resilience, community-based design and other design topics. The subject matter and nature of the research experience may be quite varied. Students participating should find the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding, whether or not they intend to pursue a research career. The guidance and supervision of a faculty member with substantial interest and expertise in the subject is essential to the success of the research honors project. It is expected that the research will require significant effort and creative input by the student in its design and execution and in reporting the results.

Students who consider this option should be aware that honors research is undertaken above and beyond all requirements for graduation in the major of landscape architecture. It involves a number of deadlines and a considerable time commitment. Before signing on for research honors, students need to consult with their academic advisor to make sure that honors research projects will not interfere with other academic or professional objectives such as job applications, preparation of portfolios or application to graduate school as these may need to be deferred until the thesis is complete. Students are responsible for meeting deadlines and being prepared for presentations and other meetings.

Although honors research credits for spring semester junior year and both semesters senior year are designated a letter grade, individual mentors may choose the R grade for work in progress until the project has been fully completed. Grade is determined by each student’s mentor. The designation of “distinction in research” on the diploma is awarded at the recommendation of the faculty advisor and other referees to the honors committee chair. An outline of activities for both years is given below.

The Landscape Studies Research Honors Committee requires that an undergraduate who is interested in embarking on a research honors project proceed with the following steps:

Junior year: Identify a potential research honors project sponsor and secure that faculty member’s commitment to sponsor the student in the research project. This should be accomplished early in the second semester of the junior year and be finalized by the end of the spring semester.

  1. Work with a faculty advisor to identify and formulate a research question or pursuit. If the faculty advisor is not in the Department of Landscape Architecture, select a co-advisor from the department to ensure that the research is consistent with the field.
  2. Submit a completed application and proposal (approved by the honors project supervisor and the chair of the research honors committee) no later than the end of the fourth week of the first semester of the senior year. Earlier submissions are encouraged. These will be reviewed by two ad hoc committee members, and successful thesis proposals will be submitted to the college honors committee by the sixth week.
  3. Carry out an independent research effort that is original and separate from the work of others who may be investigating similar subjects.
  4. Submit an outline of the thesis to the chair of the committee by the end of January for a May graduation.
  5. Submit a draft to the readers by April 15. Describe and summarize the work within the range of formats used in the master’s thesis program or professional journals in design or research. This version will be reviewed by the faculty supervisor and two ad hoc reviewers, and the student will be able to incorporate the committee’s comments and suggestions into the final version, which will be due the last day of classes. Referees prepare a recommendation to the honors committee chair regarding the acceptability of the honors thesis.
  6. Give one oral presentation to the group of other honors research students and invited faculty members. Both presentations are during the student’s senior year.
  7. Send one bound copy of the completed and defended thesis to the honors committee chair by May 13 or another date provided by CALS, whichever is sooner.
  8. Students may choose to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  9. Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Nutritional Sciences (Division of)

Faculty committee: Chair, Dr. Julia Felice

The Honors Program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences is an excellent opportunity for students who are highly motivated, interested in research, and wish to commit substantial time and intellectual energy to a project that will span about four semesters of their undergraduate tenure. Honors students enjoy the excitement of both participating in a project that generates new knowledge on an interesting topic and reporting their research findings. By working with faculty mentors and other researchers, they develop skills in research methods and data analysis. Students also learn that research projects are labor intensive and that writing research reports, such as the honors thesis, is a vital and time-consuming aspect of the research process. This intensive research experience is not suitable for all students, and those who desire a less intensive research experience may conduct research with a faculty member under NS 4010 .

Application Procedures

The application procedure for the Honors Program is described briefly below. However, students interested in the DNS Honors Program should review program requirements in detail, because the explanation below does not include some important application details. For example, in some cases, DNS students may complete an honors thesis with a non-DNS faculty member. Regardless of faculty mentor, students should contact Dr. Julia Felice as soon as possible for important additional information about application procedures.

Students interested in the program typically spend the spring sophomore semester and fall junior semester exploring honors project opportunities with prospective faculty mentors. Students are responsible for contacting faculty members and applying to their research programs, although some guidance in this process will be provided in NS 3980 . By the fall of the junior year, the student is expected to have identified his or her faculty member and be working with him or her on a proposal abstract. Applications to the DNS Honors Program are due in early February of a student’s junior year.

Complete applications include:

  1. The Honors Program Application front sheet
  2. The Honors Advisor Agreement Form
  3. A separate proposal abstract, describing the research project and the student’s specific role in that project

Interested students should contact Dr. Julia Felice for the application and advisor agreement form. In addition, it is strongly recommended that students take NS 3980 - Research in Human Nutrition and Health  —a requirement in the Honors Program— in the fall semester of their sophomore or junior year. 

Honors Program Requirements

The Honors research project, through which students becomes intellectually engaged in the entire research process, is the major component of the honors program. It should be well-defined and sufficiently circumscribed to give students the opportunity to develop a research plan, execute the research, and write an acceptable thesis within the limited time available to students carrying full academic loads. The components of an Honors Thesis and the requirements for submitting them are described briefly below.

Typically, an Honors project is designed early in the junior year and conducted in the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of senior year. Students may also arrange with their faculty mentor to work on the project during the summer. The spring senior semester is usually devoted to writing the thesis (at least 25 pages).

Honors Program students are required to:

  1. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.2.
  2. Pass NS 3980  (may not be taken S/U). Fall only. Highly recommended that students take this as early as possible.
  3. Complete a minimum of 6 credits of NS 4990 . The six required credits may be taken mostly during senior year (3 credits per semester). Any additional research credits can be obtained under NS 4010 . How much time is spent on the project each semester will be the decision of the student and the faculty mentor. However, a faculty mentor typically assigns one hour of academic credit per 3-4 weekly hours of work. These hours include preparing the research plan and conducting the necessary library research (both of which are usually completed during the junior year) as well as implementing the research itself, conducting necessary analyses, and preparing and writing the honors thesis.
  4. Meet all Honors Program requirements and deadlines. These are detailed in the DNS Honors Program document linked above.
  5. Complete a written thesis that reports the research. Minimum 25 pages. The student works with the faculty mentor to prepare a draft of the thesis, which is submitted before spring break to a second faculty member for evaluation. When comments are received from the reader, the student must revise the thesis to meet the criteria for acceptance. 
  6. Give an oral presentation of the project at the undergraduate honors symposium. The symposium is typically held at the beginning of the spring finals period.

Students should contact Dr. Julia Felice for important additional information about program deadlines and requirements.

Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

Physical Sciences

Faculty committee: M. W. Wysocki, chair

The research honors program in physical sciences provides outstanding students with an opportunity to do independent research under the supervision of a faculty member in the Departments of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Food Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, or Biological Statistics and Computational Biology.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the college, the student is expected to:

  1. Identify a thesis advisor and thesis topic before the end of the junior year.
  2. Work with the thesis advisor to prepare a budget, short research proposal (2–3 pages), and application form. These materials must be received by the Physical Sciences committee chair by the end of the third week of senior year.
  3. Enroll in the program for a minimum of two semesters.
  4. Enroll in the appropriate departmental undergraduate research course for a total of at least 6 credits.
  5. Submit an outline of the thesis to the chair of the committee by the end of January (for a May graduation).
  6. Submit a draft of the thesis to the thesis advisor with sufficient lead-time for a revision to be prepared.
  7. Submit three copies of the thesis and names of recommended reviewers to the chair of the honors committee by four weeks before the end of classes in the semester in which graduation is expected.
  8. Students may volunteer to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  9. Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

There is no required format, but the thesis is usually written in the form of a research journal article or a master’s thesis.

Further details of the program can be obtained from the chair of the Physical Sciences Research Honors Committee.

Plant Sciences

Faculty committee: T. Setter, chair; T. Bauerle, A. DiTommaso, T. Pawlowska, M. Smith-Einarson

The Research Honors Program in Plant Sciences is designed for students interested in seeking advanced training in laboratory and/or field research through completion of an original research project under the guidance of a faculty member in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences (SIPS). The breadth and diversity of research interests of SIPS faculty provide students a valuable opportunity to engage in basic and applied research to be well-positioned to pursue career goals. Students may also work with faculty in any department at Cornell as long as the research topic deals with plants.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Students interested in enrolling in the Research Honors Program in Plant Sciences must:

  • meet college requirements;
  • have an overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • be engaged in research no later than the first semester of the junior year
  • identify a prospective honors project advisor and initiate an independent research project no later than the second semester of the junior year (complete PLSCI 4990  course)
  • attend information session for new applicants

For 2020-2021 graduates the information session will be held on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 4:00 pm (for Zoom meeting info; contact T. Setter: tls1@cornell.edu).

 

Application Procedures

  1. An application form (available at cals.cornell.edu/academics/student-research/honors/).
  2. Research Description (no more than 2 pages, single space, font 12) that should include:
  • Statement of Objectives and Significance
  • Brief overview of literature
  • Experimental Procedures
  • Literature cited
  • Signature by research advisor.
  1. Signed Honors Thesis Advisor Agreement (contact T. Setter, tls1@cornell.edu, for a copy).

 

Honors Degree Requirements

Honors candidates are encouraged to enroll and obtain credit each semester in PLSCI 4990 - Independent Undergraduate Research in Plant Science  under the direction of the faculty member acting as the Honors supervisor, although the program does not have a specific credit requirement.

Students accepted into the Plant Sciences Honors Program must complete the following in order to graduate with Distinction in Research:

  • Maintain Cornell GPA of at least 3.0
  • Participate in honors group meetings
  • Enroll in PLSCI 4950  and present research findings at the SIPS Senior Symposium (end of the spring semester of the senior year).
  • Plant Sciences Honors graduates are encouraged to present their work at the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board Spring Forum [CURB] near the end of each semester.  (See: courses2.cit.cornell.edu/CURB/].
  • Submit honors thesis by the scheduled deadline [thesis should be submitted electronically to the committee chair (tls1@cornell.edu)].
  • Students are encouraged to publish their original honors research at eCommons Cornell University Library.  Students should consult with faculty advisor to ensure that such publishing does not interfere with patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.
  • Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

 

Important Dates and Deadlines

Fall 2020

Information Session for New Applicants
(For spring 2021 graduates)

August 24, 2020, 4:00 pm  (for Zoom meeting info; contact T. Setter: tls1@cornell.edu)                          

December 2020 Graduates

Project Report Due to: Research Supervisor                          November 2, 2020
Project Report Due to: Honors Committee   November 16, 2020
Committee Comments due to: Student December 7, 2020
Final Revised Report Due: December 14, 2020

May 2021 Graduates

Project Report Due to: Research Supervisor                 April 5, 2021
Thesis Due to: Honors Committee April 19, 2021
Committee Comments Due to: Student May 7, 2021
Final Revised Thesis Due: May 14, 2021
SIPS Senior Symposium TBD

Social Sciences

Social Sciences Program Area Faculty Committee: S. Giroux, chair; P. M. Eloundou-Enyegue, and J. Ifft

Overview

This thesis program is open to students in CALS who work in a set of social science related fields (including applied economics and management, development sociology, international agriculture and rural development and information science). The program provides an excellent opportunity for students to pursue independent study and research under the guidance/mentorship of a faculty member. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate faculty. Exceptions may be granted for persons with special expertise pending petition to the committee. Previously approved theses covered a wide range of topics and methodologies. A complete list can be found at ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/2937.

Students are accepted into the social sciences research honors program of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences after meeting all the college criteria, after evaluation of the student’s written application, and on approval of a detailed thesis proposal by the Social Science Honors Committee.

Guidelines and Due Dates

A. Application and Proposal:
Students must submit by email a copy of the completed application and proposal to the social science program area faculty committee chair (Dr. Sarah Giroux) as well as 1) a letter of support from their advisor, confirming their ability to oversee the thesis (see application deadlines below) and 2) a letter from another individual (this may be a faculty, staff or graduate student) who has agreed to serve as a reviewer for the thesis project. Late applications will not be considered.

Application timeline & dates.

  • Junior year: Students are strongly encouraged to meet with faculty during their junior year in order to identify someone to serve as their honors thesis advisor. Honors thesis faculty advisors must be members of the graduate faculty. Exceptions may be granted for persons with special expertise pending petition to the committee.
  • For May graduates, the proposal is due the 4th Thursday of the fall semester to the Social Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator. (For December graduates, the proposal will be due the 4th Thursday of the Spring semester).
  • The thesis is due the 3rd Friday of April the spring semester to the Social Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator. (For December graduates, the proposal will be due the 3rd Friday of November in the Fall semester).

May Graduate Timeline
Academic Year 2019-2020
Proposals due 19 September 2019

Academic Year 2020-2021
Proposals due 17 September 2020

Academic Year 2021-2022
Proposals due 16 September 2021

Proposal Details.

Working with their honors thesis advisor, students should begin developing their thesis proposals during the second semester of junior year. The purpose of the proposal is twofold. First, it formalizes a plan of study and establishes a set of expectations between the student and the faculty advisor. Second, the honors committee reviews the proposal to determine whether it is consistent with honors thesis requirements and to make suggestions for improvement. Students accepted into the honors program may register for credit directed by the honors thesis faculty advisor (e.g., AEM 4990 , COMM 4990 , DSOC 4990 , EDUC 4990 ).

The proposal should be 5 to 10 typed, double-spaced pages and include the following:

  1. Research Topic: State the problem to be studied or the topic of interest. Review the basic literature and the background of the problem or topic; include a more extensive bibliography to be consulted.
  2. Research Questions/Empirical Hypotheses: Specify the proposed questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested empirically via collection of data and a mode of analysis accepted in the social sciences.
  3. Research Methods: Discuss the models to be constructed (if any), sampling procedures, data collection procedures (including measurement instruments and survey or experimental designs, if appropriate), and proposed methods of analysis.
  4. Expected Significance: State what new knowledge or information is likely to be forthcoming and why it is important. State any practical applications expected as a result of the research.
  5. Research Timeline: Provide a brief chronological plan for how you will complete your project by the April deadline. This is intended to help you think about how to plan your workload to complete the project by mid-April. In this section, you need to think about data collection and access issues (especially for students collecting their own data/those that will require Institutional Review Board approval. See more details on Cornell’s Research Services website. You also should set targets for delivering drafts/updates to your advisor.
  6. Attached to your proposal, you need to include a letter signed by your advisor confirming their ability to oversee your project and confirming that you have jointly agreed upon the application and timeline.
  7. You also need to secure a letter from another individual (this may be a faculty, staff or graduate student) who has agreed to serve as a reviewer for the thesis project. For this role, the reviewer will agree to provide comments on your final draft for the committee to review as part of your thesis submission package.

B. Final Submission for Review and Approval Requirements:

Honors theses should be written in accordance with the formatting required for any standard journal within the appropriate field. Distinction in research is awarded upon approval of the research honors thesis by the committee. Both the results of the research and the methodology (or the logical argument by which the results were achieved) must be reported. Reviews of the literature, practical conclusions or applications, or broad characterizations of an area of inquiry may constitute part of the research report but are not themselves sufficient as research.

The committee recommends the submission of the thesis draft to the research advisor two months before graduation to permit sufficient time for revision.

Completed theses are due approximately one month before graduation.

MAY Graduate Timeline
Academic Year 2019-2020
Final theses due 17 April 2020

Academic Year 2020-2021
Final theses due 16 April 2021

Academic Year 2021-2022
Final theses due 15 April 2022

One electronic copy of the final thesis (in pdf or Word format) should be sent by email to the Social Sciences program area faculty committee chair no later than the due date. A supporting letter from the faculty member supervising the work must be submitted either electronically or as a hard copy.

The thesis will be independently reviewed typically by two faculty committee members within about two weeks. If further revisions are required, students will be informed and a revised draft will be requested.

Students may volunteer to publish their final, approved thesis at eCommons Cornell University Library, as long as doing so does not interfere with other plans, such as patenting or publishing in a professional journal. A permission form to allow a thesis to be made available online at Mann Library can be obtained from the honors committee chair.

Each year, in recognition of student honors research achievements, CALS prints a booklet of honors theses abstracts (CALS Research Honors Abstracts). Students are responsible for submitting their formatted abstracts in accordance with abstract publication instructions.

We also recommend students to consult the following resources as they prepare their thesis drafts:

Off-Campus Opportunities


There are three approved channels for off-campus study:

  1. Credit earned through a Cornell Global Program or another study abroad institution, with prior approval, and transferred to Cornell;
  2. Credit earned in Cornell courses that require off-campus activity;
  3. Cornell credit earned at a CALS Exchange Partner institution abroad.

With the exception of the CALS Exchange programs, students who plan to enroll in courses at another institution should refer to the non-Cornell (transfer) credit policies

Study Abroad and Other International Opportunities


Students attending study abroad or exchange programs during the fall or spring semester must:

  • be a registered, full-time student;
  • be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or above. Some programs may require a minimum of 3.0 GPA;
  • apply by the stated deadlines;
  • apply for a program through the Office of Global Learning or the CALS Exchange Programthere are no exceptions to this rule. Credit is not awarded retroactively after a return from a leave of absence during which you may have studied abroad independently;
  • receive approval on the “CALS Study Abroad/Exchange Participation and Course Approval Form” from their faculty advisor and/or designated department coordinator, and CALS Office of Student Services.

Programs Must:

  • be a CALS Exchange Program (college managed options); or
  • be a “CALS-approved” accredited study abroad program or university offered through the Office of Global Learning. Search the Cornell Experience: select “Global” under Category, and “Agriculture and Life Sciences” under the College/School in order to view CALS-approved opportunities; and
  • run a minimum of 14 weeks for full credit.

Credits earned through Office of Global Learning programs count towards the 60 maximum transfer credits permitted; credits are limited to 15 credits per semester, 30 per academic year.

CALS Exchange program credits will return as Cornell credits and students may earn more than 15 credits per semester. Students should consult with the CALS exchange/study abroad advisor for specific details.

Transfer students are able to participate in the same study abroad opportunities as all CALS students.  For students with 45 or fewer transfer credits, studying abroad for a semester can fit into a Cornell degree quite seamlessly. However, students with more than 45 transfer credits should discuss their individual situation with a CALS study abroad/exchange advisor.

Other Opportunities:

  • Summer or winter study abroad – to return credits earned to Cornell, classes/internship credit must be approved prior to departing for the program by completing the Summer/Winter course approval form
  • Internships, service-learning, and volunteering abroad
  • Research abroad
  • Faculty-Led Programs (usually affiliated with a Fall or Spring course)

*If you are an external transfer and studied abroad while at your former university, or an incoming first-year student who studied abroad at the university level prior to matriculation, you may be eligible to seek pre-matriculation study abroad credit.

CALS Global Fellows Program

The CALS Global Fellows Program supports CALS undergraduate students from any CALS major in pursuit of challenging, professionally focused summer internships and research placements that enhance and complement their career goals and academic progress while enriching their undergraduate experience with diverse cultural and international immersion. Through key partnerships, the Global Fellows Program provides a platform for students to make positive and definable contributions to global organizations and communities.

Acceptance to the program is competitive and a limited number of students are selected each year.

More information regarding specific placement opportunities, eligibility, and how to apply can be found online.

Albany Programs

CALS offers the unique opportunity to help students explore careers in public service, public policy, politics, and government. Students work for a Member of the Assembly or a State Senator. These programs are offered during the spring semester in Albany, NY. Policy interests may include, but are not limited to: Health Care; Environment; Agriculture; Energy; Science and Technology; Crime, Incarceration, and Justice; Social Sciences; Human Rights; Children and Families; Education; Taxation and Economic Policy; Labor; and Urban Planning.

This program offers a paid internship (stipend) in the New York State Legislature, earning a full semester of credits (12 internship credits plus 3 additional credits from the online internship course, for 15 credits in total). Students will enroll in ALS 3920 .

As part of either the Senate or Assembly, students learn through direct experience and formal instruction how the New York State Legislature functions. The Capital Semester Internship Program offers students a type of real-world experience. For full program details go to:

Ithaca College Exchange Programs

The Cornell University–Ithaca College Exchange Program allows matriculated full-time students, with prior approval and within stated stipulations, to cross-register at the other institution during the fall and spring semesters. A student must be enrolled in 12 academic credits at Cornell to remain in good academic standing. Ithaca College credits will be treated as non-Cornell (transfer) credits and reflected on the Cornell transcript as such. Cornell students are eligible to register only for Ithaca College courses that are relevant to their program and that do not duplicate Cornell courses. The Continuing Education website provides more information for those interested or visit their office at B20 Day Hall (607-255-4987).

Students completing courses at Ithaca College for the Applied Exercise Science minor: available to all DNS undergraduates should review the requirements through the website.

Cornell in Washington

Cornell in Washington is a fall or spring semester, or summer, program in the heart of Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital. This unique experience offers students in all colleges an opportunity to earn full academic credit for a semester or summer in Washington, D.C.  Students take part in small seminars led by Cornell faculty and gain work experience through an internship of their choosing. In the fall and spring semesters, students also have the chance to carry out individual research projects. Learn more about the Cornell in Washington Program.

Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML)

Cornell’s Shoals Marine Lab is the country’s largest undergraduate-focused marine laboratory, offering summer courses and internships on Appledore Island, Gulf of Maine, using the Isles of Shoals archipelago as its classroom. Students from any major can focus on coastal field work and experiential learning while living on the island. Courses fulfill many major and college distribution requirements. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Please refer to the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) section under Biological Sciences for a list of courses (BIOSM) offered.

SHOALS SUMMER SEMESTER

The Shoals Semester program offers CALS students a chance to take a full semester’s worth of credit (12+) at Shoals Marine Laboratory. Shoals provide students an opportunity to gain valuable academic training through hands-on, field-based courses that cover a wide variety of marine science-related topics. For more information, contact Academic Coordinator Dr. Eugene Won, or visit www.shoalsmarinelaboratory.org to fill out an online inquiry form.

Special Studies


Several departments in the college offer individual study (4970), supervised internships (4960), teaching assistantships (4980), and undergraduate research (4990) for academic credit. To ensure a fair and manageable system to deal with internships, undergraduate research, and teaching assistantships the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has set forth guidelines to serve as minimum requirements for a student to receive credit.

  • A Cornell CALS faculty member is directly involved in determining both the course content and in evaluating the student’s work. The experience should be purposeful, provide opportunities for reflection, present a continual challenge to the student, and incorporate active learning, with the student an active participant in all stages of the experience from planning to evaluation.
  • Before a student begins the undergraduate research, teaching assistantship or internship:
    • A learning contract should be written between the Cornell CALS faculty member responsible for grading, the supervisor at the location (if applicable), and the student.
      • This contract should state the conditions of the work, assignments, supervision, learning goals, number of credits and methods of evaluation of the work.
    • Special Studies Independent Study, Research, Teaching and Internship request can be submitted online through the online CALS Special Studies form.
      • Some departments may have their own form.
  • Students should further develop the experience based on the college Experiential Learning Criteria.
  • If away from campus during internship/undergraduate research, students must keep their Cornell CALS faculty member updated on the progress of the experience.
  • Students have the option to receive payment or enroll in academic credit for undergraduate research, teaching assistantships and internships.  Please review the policy here.
  • NOTE: Special Studies in Winter/Summer:
    • Credit can only be awarded during the semester in which the coursework was completed. For example, a student beginning a special study during the summer can enroll in a special study (4960- internship; 4970-Independent study, 4980-teaching assistant, or 4990-undergraduate research) course in the Fall Semester ONLY if the majority of work is completed in the Fall Semester. If all work is completed in the summer/winter, the student must enroll through the School of Continuing Education and Summer Session.    
    • Credit will only be assigned or accepted in cases where a CALS Cornell faculty member is directly involved in determining both the content and in evaluating the student’s work.
    • Students must keep the CALS faculty member responsible for grading updated on the progress of the special study.
    • Individual departments may add more requirements (including additional forms to complete) to the special study based on specific needs such as time constraints, faculty workloads, and the relationship of the special study to the goals of the department.
Internships

Several departments in the college offer supervised internships for academic credit. Students should consult with their major department prior to the start of an internship if they want credit. Internship Guidelines may be found on the CALS website under Internship. Internships may be granted for pay and/or credit.  Credit is not awarded prior to matriculation. 

Pay and Credit for Undergraduate Research, Teaching, and Internships

Undergraduate Research: students can receive pay or credit, but not both. They can partition it so that they receive to pay for part of the research and credit for the other as long as the work does not overlap.

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant: students can receive either pay or credit, but not both.

Internships: students may receive both pay and credit for the same internship experience.