The primary goal during the junior year is to identify a specific problem or interest and write a proposal for research that will address the problem or interest area. The proposal will form the basis of the student’s Senior Thesis work. This might be a continuation and refinement of the work the student had already been doing, but does not need to be. The project must be defined through consultation with the mentor.
Students must submit a five-page research proposal, countersigned by their mentors, to the Honors Dean in 116 Agriculture Hall. The proposal must contain the following information: A brief summary of past research accomplishments, a short background to the focus of the Senior Thesis, and an outline of the proposed research. This document must be received by May, 1 of the student’s junior year (or December 1 for students graduating in the following fall). The Honors and Undergraduate Research Committee will either accept the proposal or identify concerns that must be addressed by a specified date, if the student is to receive a degree with honors.
Students are also required to take the CALS Honors Interdisciplinary Junior Seminar (CALS-Interdisciplinary 388, 1 cr) in the fall, which will discuss the scientific community (papers, etiquette, grants), ethics, grad school applications, and preparation of research proposals. The goal of this course is to provide an environment external to the student’s research experience that will help him or her grow as a scientist. Students in disciplines where the specific focus of this course is not appropriate must submit requests to the Honors Dean describing an experience that would provide appropriate professional growth. This might be in the form of an existing course or some completely different experience and should be the result of discussions between the student and both the student’s mentor and academic advisor.