Department of Environmental Sciences

Degree Requirements: Departmental Honors

Qualified juniors and seniors working on degree programs within the Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) may be invited to work for one of the following citations, consistent with their degree program: "Honors in Biology", "Honors in Environmental Sciences", "Honors in Environmental Studies" or "Honors in Geology". 


The Departmental Honors program is open to DES majors who may or may not be concurrently enrolled in College Honors. Admission to the Departmental Honors program is based on academic achievement. Normally, students invited to participate will have achieved a 3.3 or better overall GPA by the end of the sophomore year.

For Jesup Scott Honors College students to graduate as an honors student, they must also complete the requirements for Departmental Honors. A DES student is not required to be an honors college student to participate in Department Honors.


A student must satisfactorily complete from 3 to 6 credits of EEES 4910: Directed Research and graduate with a 3.3 overall GPA in order to receive the Honors citation. Candidates must prepare a written thesis based on their research and present an oral report at an open forum. Candidates also will provide a PDF version of the approved thesis to the research advisor and the Department. This program provides an opportunity for the exceptional student to work closely with a faculty advisor on an independent research topic. This research experience may lead to publication and is an excellent preparation for graduate studies.

  • Complete from 3-6 credits of EEES 4910;

  • Graduate with a 3.3 overall GPA;

  • Prepare a written thesis based on research;

  • Present an oral report at an open forum based on research.

Steps towards receiving Departmental Honors

  1. Meet with the Departmental Honors Advisor (Dr. Trisha Spanbauer) to discuss the program and determine eligibility.
  2. Contact a potential faculty research mentor to discuss the possibility of conducting research under their supervision.
  3. Conduct an original research project under the direction of the faculty research mentor.
  4. Register for 3-6 credits of EEES 4910. This does not need to be in the same semester(s) that are you actually doing your research, but this requirement must be completed before graduation. Enroll in the section that corresponds with your faculty mentor.
  5. Notify the Departmental Honors Advisor (Dr. Trisha Spanbauer) that you have registered for the EEES 4910 credits.
  6. Upon completion of your research, you must prepare a written thesis; these are usually 10-30 pages in length depending on the nature of the research. Please follow the undergraduate thesis formatting instructions found here to prepare the final thesis. Your research advisor should edit and approve this thesis before you turn it in to the Departmental Honors Advisor for final approval. You must provide one softbound copy to your faculty research mentor, and one softbound copy signed by the faculty research mentor to the department.
  7. Notify the Departmental Honors Advisor (Dr. Trisha Spanbauer) that you have completed your written thesis.
  8. Schedule with the Departmental Honors Advisor and give an oral presentation for your thesis. Presentations can be made at the department potluck lunch the last day of the semester of fall and spring semester, at the Lake Erie Center, or alternatively at a professional meeting or conference. Campus presentations should be publicized by notifying the Departmental Secretary of the date, location and title of your presentation. Campus presentations usually last 15 minutes.
  9. Around the middle of your last semester at UToledo, provide the Departmental Honors Advisor with an unofficial transcript to assure that that the 3-6 credits of EEES 4910 are in order.
  10. Upon completion of all the requirements the Departmental Honors Advisor will notify the person in the Office of Student Services who is responsible for Graduation Evaluation that the student has completed all requirements for the Departmental Honors Citation. This needs to be done two months before graduation in order for the citation to appear in the graduation programs.
Last Updated: 9/19/22