Print this page

This program is designed to expose honors students in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences to the practice of science as it is carried out at a creative and professional level, and to enable their participation in the scientific process. Professor Bruce Nelson is the program faculty coordinator.

There are two levels of honors at the University of Washington. For a degree earned "With College Honors," students enter the University Honors Program (generally as freshmen) and complete a four-year track that includes both an Honors Core and Departmental Honors. Students may choose to participate in Departmental Honors only. Completion of Departmental Honors alone results in a degree earned "With Distinction" in the major. Admission to the ESS Honors Program is generally by invitation; college honors students are automatically eligible. Interested students should contact the Honors Program coordinator. The planning document for current ESS students is here.

More information about the University Honors program can be found here.

Program Requirements
  1. A student must present and maintain a 3.4 GPA in the ESS major, and have achieved a 3.3 cumulative GPA upon graduation. If either of these is not achieved, courses designated as "Honors" will remain on the student's transcript, but the title of "Graduation with Distinction" will not appear on the diploma.
  2. The student must complete a 3-credit ESS 489 Honors Seminar course. The seminar will be centered on important and controversial scientific issues, and will examine methodological and philosophical issues in the Earth and Space sciences. Honors students and committee will meet to consider potential topics and arrive at a program suited to participants in that years' seminar. Students will be required to read papers on these topics and participate in discussions. In addition, enrichment will include at least one of the following: a relevant field trip; a visit to a professional meeting; or an equivalent extra-mural activity.
  3. Students must serve as an assistant (T.A.A.) to a graduate teaching assistant in the laboratories for an undergraduate ESS course. This exercise requires the student to formulate, synthesize and present knowledge gained during prior coursework. T.A.A.'s are intended to complete the T.A. role within the laboratory/classroom/field, and will not be responsible for clerical tasks or grading. The student may register for academic credit for this work through ESS 492, or this may be done on a non-credit basis.
  4. The student must complete an independent research project under the supervision of at least one ESS faculty member, or a faculty member outside of ESS with approval of the Honors Advisor. The project design must be approved by the ESS Honors advisor. The student must present the results of the research at a public symposium, either as a poster or as an oral presentation. Qualifying venues include the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, the ESS Department Research Gala, an AGU or GSA meeting, and other professional meetings for which there is a published abstract of the presentations. Other venues may fulfill this requirement if pre-approved by the Honors Advisor. The student must report the event, location and date of successful presentation of their work to the Honors Advisor and Student Services.
Minimum Admission Requirements

ESS declared major with Junior standing; current UW GPA > 3.3 and Current ESS GPA > 3.4; minimum ESS coursework completed: ESS 211, 212, 213

Apply to do a major in ESS
See other degrees offered