So you think you might want to do an Honors or Senior thesis in Earth Sciences? It is never too early to begin thinking about one! Read on to find out how to go about deciding on a topic, getting academic credit, getting funding, and completing the thesis.


Honors or senior thesis?

All Earth Sciences and Environmental Earth Sciences majors are encouraged to do a senior thesis. Doing one is a way of fulfilling the culminating experience requirement for a Dartmouth undergraduate degree (though there are also other ways via EARS 87 or 88). A thesis may, in addition, make you eligible for graduating with Honors or High Honors in Earth Sciences. Download this PDF to read more about thesis guidelines and procedures for both Senior and Honors theses.



Work on Senior or Honors theses often begin during one's junior year, but many students start doing thesis-related research much earlier. In order to identify potential thesis projects, students are encouraged to reach out to individual faculty members, research associates, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students about potential research opportunities. Many students are encouraged to apply to the Dartmouth Undergraduate Advising and Research program, or other internal funding initiatives at Dartmouth, to acquire additional funds to support their research. Once a project is selected, it is largely up to the thesis student to complete the data collection, analysis, and writing, although there is generally a lot of embedded support from the department mentor! The bulk of the data analysis and writing is often completed in the course EARS 89 during one's senior year, but the onus is truly on the thesis student to complete the required work. Although these are commonly demanding projects, this is one of the most remarkable opportunities within the Earth Sciences major! Please find more information here.

The specific requirements of the Senior or Honors thesis are outlined in the ORC.


There are plenty of additional funding opportunities outside of the Department of Earth Sciences or Dartmouth College. Below, is a non-exhaustive list of external funding opportunities – please speak with your department mentor or advisor about these opportunities and whether or not it makes sense to apply!