Senior Honors Thesis, Internships, and Independent Studies
Internship in Geography: GEOG 493
The purpose of Geography 493 is to allow students to obtain experiential education credit for geographical work beyond the classroom, and to compliment this with a related academic project. This course is open only to Geography majors in the junior and senior years. The internship in Geography can be in a research setting, or for an outside organization such as local conservation organizations, federal, state, or local government departments, news stations, etc. or it could be in an educational setting such as a museum or national or state park or forest where the emphasis would be on how to communicate information about geography to the public or to students or the public. If appropriate, the student can be paid for the work and also get academic credit.
Before the work is to be done, students must identify and secure an internship and a supervisor who will oversee the student during the internship. The student must contact the DUS in Geography to discuss whether the internship is appropriate for Geog 493 credit and must identify and coordinate with a faculty member from the Department of Geography who will serve as the “Instructor of Record.” The paperwork (learning contract) used to formalize the requirements and expectations for credit must be completed. An enrollment form is available from Nell Phillips in the main geography office (205 Carolina, firstname.lastname@example.org), and students will be enrolled by the department before the start of the semester. The student will need to spend 3-4 hours per week on the project per credit hour. The time spent on the internship should be documented by the supervisor and communicated to the instructor of record. At the end of the project the student will write a 10-page paper describing the work on the project in a format to be determined by the supervisor and the instructor of record. The course grade will be determined by the instructor of record in consultation with the internship supervisor.
Undergraduate Research in Geography: GEOG 295
The purpose of Geography 295 is to provide students with research experience while working on a question of current geographical interest. Research is done under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Geography. Students may enroll twice, for a total of 6 credits. Each credit hour represents 3-4 hours of research per week, on average, during the semester. Students enrolled for 3 credit hours should spend 10 hours or more on research per week.
Students are responsible for contacting faculty in the Department of Geography who will agree to supervise the student’s research. The paperwork (learning contract) used to formalize the requirements and expectations for credit is available from Ms. Phillips (email@example.com). Students will be enrolled by the department by the start of the semester (at the latest). Students must write at least a 10-page paper describing their research and submit this at the end of the semester. The paper might describe the rationale for the research, the methods used, any results obtained, and any conclusions derived, but the exact format of this paper is to be determined through consultation between the student and research supervisor. It expected that all requirements by student and faculty will be fulfilled in a timely fashion according to an agreed upon schedule that corresponds with the academic calendar. Three hours of Geography 295 can count as a Geography elective. However, Geography 295 credit can be used to satisfy just one Geography elective.
Independent Study in Geography: GEOG 296
Geography 296 is an opportunity for geography majors to pursue a substantive piece of independent research and writing on a topic of special interest. This topic is developed by the student in consultation with a Geography faculty member. To be eligible for Geography 296, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. Students are enrolled by the department by the start of the semester (at the latest). An enrollment form is available from Ms. Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org). The form requires signatures of the research supervisor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, a description of the planned research project, and associated reading list. Find the form here: Learning contract independent study.
Students must write at least a 10-page paper describing their research, as determined in consultation with the supervisor, and submit this at the end of each semester. The paper should describe the rationale for the research, the methods used, any results obtained, and any conclusions derived. This paper must be reviewed and approved by the research supervisor, who will assign the final grade.
Honors in Geography: GEOG 691H/692H
Participating in the Geography Honors program (GEOG 691H/692H) will allow you to graduate with Honors or Highest Honors in the Geography major, regardless of whether you are part of the UNC honors program. Prospective Honors students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher and a GPA of 3.4 or higher in Geography courses. Honors projects are developed in consultation with a faculty member from Geography and one additional PhD holding committee member from Geography or another department on campus (“reader”). It is the student’s responsibility to identify and coordinate with a faculty member who will mentor them for the honors program.
Preferably, the student will have coordinated with their faculty mentor and committee in the spring semester of their Junior Year, and will have applied for a SURF grant, or other summer funding to support their Honors Thesis work.
Prospective honors students must submit an application form signed by their advisor and approved by the department honors advisor (DUS). The absolute deadline to submit the application is the end of the first week of classes of the Fall semester of the senior year. For students graduating in December, it is possible to shift the timing of the thesis work to Spring/Fall as opposed to Fall/Spring. The application should include the honors thesis registration form (available from Ms. Phillips, email@example.com) and a syllabus agreed upon by the student and their advisor, which outlines a a plan of work. Upon approval, the student will be registered by Ms. Phillips.
Honors students must write an honors thesis to be completed by the university set deadline and approved by their faculty mentor and one additional committee member. Graduate students who are ABD may serve as a third reader on undergraduate honors theses, and serve in an advisory role, but may not vote on Pass/Fail or Honors/Highest Honors decisions.
Honors students will present their work to the department at the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium. The final department colloquium in Spring Semester (last two weeks of April) is reserved for the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Additional information about the senior honors thesis can be found at Honors Carolina (honorscarolina.unc.edu/), specific guideline can be found here, or by speaking with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Geography. If you don’t know what an honors thesis might look like, the Writing Center offers some guidelines.