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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. Interested students who do not receive an invitation but believe they may be eligible should contact the Honors Program Coordinator in Spring quarter to discuss enrolling in ESS 489 the following Autumn.

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

Minimum Admission Requirements

ESS declared major with Junior standing; current UW GPA > 3.3 and Current ESS GPA > 3.4; minimum ESS coursework completed: 3 courses from ESS 205, ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213

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. Please note that this course will not count towards 400-level ESS major electives.
  3. Students must engage in an Education in the Earth Sciences seminar. This exercise requires the student to formulate, synthesize and present knowledge gained during prior coursework. The student may register for academic credit for this work through ESS 492 (sample syllabus), or this may be done on a non-credit basis. If done on a non-credit basis, the student's faculty mentor must confirm completion of this requirement via an email to ESS Student Services.
  4. The student must complete an independent research project under the supervision of at least one ESS faculty member, with approval of the Honors Director. 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 Director. The student's faculty research mentor must confirm completion of this requirement via an email to ESS Student Services.