Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES


Honors in Environmental Studies and Environmental Science

Students interested in graduating with honors in their concentration must complete a thesis determined to be of the highest quality and must have excelled in their coursework required for the concentration, which is defined here as receiving a grade of "A" in the majority of courses taken to fulfill the concentration.

The thesis is an in-depth, original work of scholarship. This scholarship can take many forms, from basic discovery that fuels future advances, to applied problem solving that meets the challenges facing our environment, but also to engaged work that involves a reciprocal, collaborative relationship between our scholars and an organization outside Brown. The thesis is conducted during the senior year, over the course of two semesters and under the supervision of a faculty member. Typically the faculty member is a Fellow of IBES, but additional Brown faculty can also serve as a thesis advisor with permission of the student's concentration advisor. The thesis will also have a 'second reader' who can provide additional input on the direction of the work and who will help to evaluate the quality of final work produced. The second reader is often a Brown faculty member, but can also be an environmental practitioner or faculty member based outside of Brown.

Students interested in conducting a thesis should identify and confirm the interest of a Brown faculty member before the end of their 6th semester. Students will enroll for credit in independent study with that faculty member in their 7th and 8th semesters at Brown. The thesis will be evaluated by the faculty member and second reader, who will submit a recommendation to the ENVS thesis advisory committee; this advisory committee will make a determination of whether the work conducted is of sufficient quality to warrant 'honors' within the concentration. All students conducting a thesis are required to contribute a poster presentation of their work to be displayed at the annual research symposium (typically held in late April). Students graduating in December must submit their poster by late November. Students are also required, at the discretion of their thesis advisor, to conduct an oral presentation of their thesis work.

Please note the following deadlines:

6th Semester
• Secure a thesis advisor and submit an outline of the proposed work to your advisor before the end of the semester.

7th Semester
• Turn in a thesis proposal BEFORE the end of shopping period. (Click on related file below to download document.)

8th Semester
• April 15 - The written findings of the thesis must be provided to the thesis advisor and second reader no later than this date.
• April 22 - Submit the final written draft, containing any edits requested by your advisor and second reader.

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