Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Departments & Programs


Honors Program

The Honors Program in Earth Systems provides the means and encouragement to undertake a year-long research effort under the guidance of an Earth Systems-affiliated faculty member. While all Earth Systems students must complete an approved 9 unit/270 hour interdisciplinary research/internship project and write an accompanying 15-page technical summary paper, those who undertake an honors project will have an opportunity to either build upon prior research or engage in a new research program during senior year. The honors work will deepen engagement with a research project and more fully introduce students to the process of creating new knowledge through independent research.

To qualify for the Earth Systems Honors Program, you must have and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.4. Qualified students must apply in spring quarter of your junior year (or the 4th quarter before graduation). Applications for 2014-15 are due by Friday, May 1, 2015. Your application must include a research proposal and a statement of support from your faculty research advisor(s). The Earth Systems Honors Committee, a small subcommittee of our Advisory Committee of the Whole, will review all applications to the Earth Systems Honors Program and select those who are to be admitted. You should talk with Kevin Arrigo about program logistics and pre-honors advising on research options, and review the Earth Systems Honors Guide, a quarter-by-quarter honors timeline to support the completion of the Earth Systems honors thesis.

The Honors Program will consist of a year-long mentored research project that culminates in a written thesis. A maximum of 9 units will be awarded toward thesis research. Please note that those 9 units may not substitute for any other requirements of the Earth Systems curriculum.

All theses will be read and evaluated by the thesis faculty advisor and a second reader, usually an additional member of the Earth Systems Advisory Committee of the Whole. Please note that acceptance into the Honors Program is not a guarantee of graduating with the honors designation. The thesis must be accepted and approved by both readers and the Earth Systems Honors Committee. You must also maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.4.

Honors students are encouraged to present their research during the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences Annual Research Review, which highlights undergraduate and graduate research in the School.

Further Questions? Contact:

Dr. Kevin Arrigo
Donald & Donald M. Steel Professor in Earth Sciences
Victoria and Roger Sant Director, Earth Systems Program
Gerhard Casper University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
Professor, Department of Environmental Earth System Science
Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, Room 141
(650) 723-3599