Students may earn honors in the Department of Geosciences by completing a thesis program.

Entry into this program is described generally in Wellesley College Articles of Government, Book II, Article IV, Section 2A as follows:

Normally a student will apply to her major department in the spring of her junior year to write a thesis. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student should have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level and the recommendation of the departmental committee or of the advisors for an individual major program. Department (or advisors of individual majors) may recommend to the Committee on Curriculum and Instruction students whose average is below 3.5, but above 3.0 if they have exceptional qualifications.

The actual application process in the Department of Geosciences involves two steps:

  1. Consultation with a faculty advisor (or advisors) in the spring of junior year in order to develop a project idea, a reading list and a timetable for the work.
  2. Preparation of a 2-page proposal explaining the research problem and methods of investigation to be submitted in no later than the first week of classes in the fall of the student's senior year.

This proposal must be positively reviewed by department faculty in order to admit the applicant to the thesis program.

Admitted students will, according to Articles of Government, Book II, Article IV, Section 2A, register for Geosciences 360, Senior Thesis Research, normally in the fall of the senior year, and 360 work will be graded. In the Department of Geosciences, this grade will reflect not only research accomplishments during the semester but, equally important, a writing sample outlining the background for the problem being investigated and statement of the research problem. A properly formatted bibliography (following a style prescribed by the advisor) must be included. The substance and organization of this piece may be discussed with the faculty advisor(s), but the writing is to be carried out independently by the student in order to demonstrate organization, clarity and attention to mechanical details that will ultimately be necessary to complete the thesis itself. Department faculty will review this written statement, and the student may register for Geosciences 370 in the spring if it is judged worthy of continuing as an honors thesis.

Sara F. Langer Memorial Award

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