Senior Thesis and the Degree with honors

In order to be recommended for the degree with honors, a student is expected to have completed at least two semesters and a winter study project (031) of independent research culminating in a thesis that demonstrates outstanding achievement of an original and innovative nature. The principal considerations in admitting a student to a program of independent research are mastery of fundamental material and skills, ability to pursue independent study successfully, and demonstrated student interest and motivation.

Further advice on the major can be obtained from the department chair.

For information on formatting and submitting your thesis, visit Thesis Guidelines on the Archives and Special Collections page of the Library.

Stage Fall-WS-Spring
Discuss plans with potential advisors WSP Jr. year
Notification of acceptance before Spring break
Thesis Previews Mid-September
Introduction, thesis outline, and future plans End of finals, Fall Semester
Meeting with second reader to discuss thesis Early January
Completion of lab work and data analysis necessary for final stage of thesis writing End of Winer Study
1st complete draft to advisor and 2nd reader End of third week following Spring break
Final draft to advisor Last day of classes, Spring semester
Thesis Presentation Reading Period, Spring Semester
Final copy of thesis / Archival copy for binding End of Final Exams, Spring semester; due in Sawyer Library

Recent Honors Theses


  • Correlation of Marine and Lacustrine Tephra Layers from 14.6ky ago in the North Pacific, by Martina Berrutti Bartesaghi
  • Small worms in an ancient pond: scolecodont miniaturization in the Late Devonian mass extinction, by Gwyneth A. Chilcoat
  • Geoscience Meets Genealogy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Inundation, Land Use Changes, and Ancestral Tribal Land Ownership in Southern Louisiana, by Amalia Culpeper-Wehr
  • Melting Arctic or Climate Variability: What Causes Recent Changes in Arctic Sea Ice Drift Patterns, by Annabel Flatland
  • Investigating Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation of Hydroxynitratre Containing Aerosols, by Sylvain J. Foisy
  • California’s Central Valley: The Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Heat Events in a Warmer Climate, by Berenize Garcia Nueva
  • Algorithmic Insights into Grounded Ridge Detection and Quantification along the Alaskan Arctic Coastline using Remote Sensing Techniques, by Kennedy A. Lange
  • Modeling the evolution of nitrogen in Earth’s mantle and atmosphere through deep time, by Peter D. Miles
  • Beneath the Surface: The Critical Role of Soil Composition in Trichloroethylene Flux, by Elaine Yu


  • Exploring the Effect of Surface Ocean Nutrient Availability on Picophytoplankton and Carbon Export in the Sargasso Sea, by Nicholas Ambeliotis
  • Did Seafloor Methane Release in the Bering Sea Occur during Climate Warmings? by Dasha Belobokova
  • Investigating Cliff Retreat Rates at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Duchathair, Aran Islands, Ireland, Using Sublittoral Geomorphology and Ecology, by Sarah Brusini
  • Tracing Isotope Hydrology in Hopkins Memorial Forest, by Rheanna Fleming
  • Enigmatic Fossils From the Middle Cabrian of Yukon Territory, Canada, by Mariana Hernandez
  • River Platform as a Driver of Organic Pollutant Storage on the Floodplain, by Emily Hugo
  • Digital analysis of boulder beach clast-size distributions: methods development and ground-truthing, by Ashlyn Oh


  • Field and Digital Analysis of Boulder Beaches in Western Ireland, by Hannah Jackson
  • Exlporing the Potential for GIS in Undoing Erasure of Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican History – in collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee THPO, by Maxine Ng
  • Using Single-Fossil Organic Carbon Isotopes to Illustrate the Paleoecology and Dipositional Conditions of Mesoproterozoic Velkerri Formations of Australia, by Roman Ruiz


  • Biophysical Controls of Plum Island Estuary Tidal Channel Dynamics
  • 2019-2020 Atlantic Storm Season and its Impacts on Boulder Movement along Western Ireland
  • Conducting an Indoor Air Quality Analysis for Tallevast, Florida: A Majority Black Community facing TCE Contamination
  • Tephrochronology in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea: Assessing Tephra Correlations in Marine and Terrestrial Sediment Cores
  • Developing Digital Clast-Counting Methodology for Analysis of Boulder Beaches
  • What Drives CO2 Changes over Glacial-Interglacial Cycles? Controls on Nutrient Utilization & the Biological Pump in the Subarctic Pacific


  • Impact of the Length of Sea Ice-Free Summer Season on Alaskan Arctic Coastal Erosion Rates
  • Microfossils and Geochemistry of the Late Devonian Extinction Events in the Appalachian Basin
  • SKS Splitting Beneath Connecticut: Constraints from the SEISConn Array
  • sICEmic Sea Icea: Detecting Collisions with Seismology
  • A Dive into the Bering Sea: Reconstructing the Drivers of North Pacific Carbon Dioxide Flux Through Glacial-Interglacial Cycles of the Pleistocene


  • Impacts of Debris Flow on Landscape and Flood Risk in Coastal, Southern California
  • Unravelling the Role of Plants in Riparian Sedimentation: A Vegetated History of Avulsion on a Gravel-Bed River
  • Imapct of Summer and Fall Storms on Arctic Sea Ice Freeze-Up Timing
  • The Chronicle of an Oceanic Crust: The Tectonic Origin and Alteration History of Metabasalts Preserved on South Island, New Zealand
  • Geomorphology and Tectonism in Colorado’s Southern Front Range: Implications of Boulder and Volcanic Deposits on the Late Eocene Erosion Surface


  • How Can Storm Waves Move Very Large Boulders: Investigations in a Wave Tank
  • Photogrammetric monitoring of coastal boulder deposits
  • A Palynological and Geochemical Approach to Understanding the Late Devonian Kellwasser Events in the Appalachian Basin


  • Reconstructing Jökulhlaup Discharge Using the Morphology of Eroded  Volcanic Rootless Cones
  • A Reconnaissance Study and Interpretation of Enigmatic ca. 1.4 Ga  Plutons in the Southern Front Range, Colorado
  • Reinterpretation of Putative Tintinnid Lorica Fossils from the Tsagaan  Olom Group, Mongolia
  • Infiltration Variability and Shallow Groundwater Response to Snowmelt  in Headwater Catchments, Niwot Ridge, Colorado
  • From on High: Geochemistry of Alpine Springs, Niwot Ridge, Colorado  Front Range


  • The Water Balance and Hydrology of the Class of ’66 Environmental Center
  • Modeling Non-Linear Storm Wave Behaviour for Coastal Boulder Transport in the Aran Islands, Ireland
  • Changes in Sediment Transport and Present-Day Carbon Storage Due to Historic Charcoaling Activity in Litchfield, CT
  • Not Just Flowers: Vases in the Neoproterozoic
  • Tiny Fossils from a Big Extinction: Microfossil Assemblage Variation Through the Kellwasser Event of the Late Devonian
  • The Geomorphology of Mountains on Io
  • Detrital Zircon Constraints on the Age of the Granville Dome Mantling Sequence
  • Tephronchronology as a Tool to Constrain Surface Reservoir Ages in the Deglacial Bering Sea


  • Comparison of Icelandic Rootless Spatter Cones with Experimental Lava Features
  • Connecting Surficial Deposits and Hydrologic Flux in Leaky, Snowmelt-Dominated Catchments, Niwot Ridge, Colorado
  • Geomorphic Effects of the September 2013 Flood in Fourmile Canyon, Colorado, Using Lidar and Field Studies
  • Boulder Movements in Western Ireland