Program in Environmental Design

University of Colorado Boulder

ENVD Honors Program

Graduating with Honors

Students at the University of Colorado may graduate with Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude) through either the General Honors Program or their department. Latin Honors is awarded to students with high GPAs (above a 3.3) who complete an independent project and defend it. Students interested in participating in the General Honors Program should visit the CU Honors Program website. The Environmental Design Program also offers academic departmental honors, which is based solely on a student’s CU GPA and does not require a thesis project. Enrollment in the academic departmental honors program is automatic.  For questions on GPA honors, please see your academic advisor.

Latin Departmental Honors in ENVD

Students wishing to pursue Latin Honors through ENVD apply in their junior year. Students with an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher propose a project to work on in their senior year of study, under the guidance of a three-person thesis committee. Accepted students take an advanced research methods class in the fall of their senior year (ENVD 4972). The following spring, they take three independent study honors thesis writing credits (ENVD 4979) under the guidance of their thesis committee chair. Students defend their thesis to a committee of three faculty (their thesis committee chair, the honors council representative, and a faculty member from outside the department) in March or April, and honors are awarded by full Honors Committee in the semester the student graduates. Specific deadlines can be found on the CU Honors Program graduation page.

Latin Honors theses present work that is student directed, well beyond the requirements for existing classwork. Latin Honors projects in the Environmental Design Program fall into two major categories, research and design.  

  • Research projects present a heretofore unanswered question then work to answer it, relying on any number of data or types of evidence. The product is a paper, the length of which is determined by the topic in conversation with your chair.

  • Design projects present a problem and propose a solution to that problem. The product is a design or product, presented with a critical introduction. Design theses go beyond designing a building to propose a new response to a problem identified by the student.

Application Process

Students interested in conducting an honors thesis in ENVD should fill out an honors application.  Applications are typically due mid-March.

You will need to know your overall CU GPA (which you can find in your degree audit). You should have a topic in mind, and some faculty members who you might like to work with. For more information about faculty members’ research interests, please visit the faculty page of our website.

Applications are due in the ENVD main office by Noon on March 13, 2015.

You can pick up an ENVD honors application in the ENVD front office or download one here.

Please contact Georgia Lindsay, Honors Council Representative, with any questions.

ENVD Honors FAQs

Do I have to talk to an advisor before I apply?

The honors application is a competitive process. You do not need to have spoken with the faculty member you would like to work with, although doing so can give you an edge over applicants who have not. Faculty members will select the most promising projects to advise, and if you have already met with and explained your project, he or she might be more likely to select your project.

I want to talk to someone currently in honors. Who should I talk to?

You can talk to any of our current honors students:
Maggie Fryke (Advisor: Tori Derr), designing a modular food growing unit
Sung Won Han (Advisor: Stacey Schulte), studying walkability
Erin Hauer (Advisor: Tori Derr), creating design guidelines for ecological cities
Adam Meis (Advisor: Jade Polizzi), studying Structurally Insulated Panels
Alexis Petre (Advisor: Ken Renaud), designing infrastructure to mitigate food deserts
Elizabeth Seaver (Advisor: Meredith Banasiak), creating design guidelines for educational playgrounds
James Watt (Advisor: John Lanterman), studying community-based urban food production

Can I read previous honors theses?

The honors council has all previous honors theses archived. The most recent ones are available online at CU Scholar. Honors theses before 2010 are housed in the university archives.