Fall Term, 3rd Year

In the fall term of your 3rd year, students should begin researching and approaching potential supervisors.   For Environmental Science students, this is great preparation for starting the ENSC 3906 course in the winter term. If you are off pattern due to co-op or some other scheduling issue, please contact the Institute Administrator, Michelle Santoianni.

Starting this early gives you three advantages:

  1. Provides you an opportunity to discuss with your potential supervisor whether you should register for a specific course that would benefit your research (or is required by some supervisors) for example; ENSC 4901 or BIOL 4901 during the winter term (of your 3rd year). These Directed topics courses are an excellent opportunity to obtain a background literature review of your intended thesis topic – before you actually start your thesis. Similarly, these courses could be used to train you in specific skill sets necessary for your thesis, or it can be used to develop a detailed research proposal. If your thesis involves summer field work then a directed topics course could be used as well to develop a summer research proposal.
  2. Provides you an opportunity to apply for a NSERC Summer Research Fellowship under your potential supervisor. Nothing like being paid to do research! Applications are due in January, hence the need to discuss with your potential supervisor.  Note: NSERC fellowships are based solely on grades.  Recent cutoffs have been above 10.5 GPA.
  3. Provides you the opportunity to pick and choose who you would like to work with – and to choose a research project that interests you most. Delaying the process until fall of your 4th year limits your opportunities significantly as most professors have already committed to a number of students.

Choosing Supervisors

1) To choose a Supervisor for your ENSC 4906 Honours Thesis, you may wish to consult the Environmental Science webpage for Faculty and Council Members information, Through their websites, you can learn about and review their specific research interests.

Faculty

Council Members

2) You could also approach the professor of a class that you particularly enjoyed to ask if he/she has any opportunities or can suggest someone else who might.

3) The National Capital Region is also blessed with many Research Scientists working within the federal and provincial governments, NGO’s and private industry.  You are encouraged to seek out those people to see if their research interests match what you want to study.

Contacting potential supervisors by e-mail to set up an appointment is fine, but be sure to put your best foot forward by writing in a professional manner. Do your homework before your appointment: familiarize yourself with the research done in the lab you’d like to join. While we do not generally expect that students will design their own research projects before seeking a supervisor, you should think about how you see yourself fitting in to your potential supervisor’s research program.

Note: We recommend you to have made contact with your potential supervisor before the Christmas break.

Winter Term, 3rd Year

All Environmental Science students who intend to complete their Honours Research Thesis must complete the course Project Planning for Environmental Research, ENSC 3906.   Please submit the permission form for this course to Michelle Santoianni, by email or visit the office located 4442 Herzberg Building.

By the end of the winter term of 3rd year, students should have completed thesis arrangements with their supervisor to ensure understanding of the commitments and expectations, a description of summer work (if required) and a work agenda for fall and winter of your 4th year.

Summer between Third and Fourth Year

Depending on the nature of your thesis project, some students may conduct summer research in the field between their 3rd and 4th years. This requirement may or may not be compatible with having a full-time summer job.

Fall term, Fourth Year

For students entering their 4th year who plan to conduct their thesis through the current academic year, and have not yet identified a supervisor to work with, you must do so by mid-September – the last day to drop & add for fall or fall/winter courses.  Note that waiting until this time imparts significant limitations on what can be accomplished.

Students that have arranged a thesis supervisor should email their signed and completed ENSC 4906 form or send an email from the supervisor to Michelle Santoianni indicating a willingness to supervise is appropriate.

Winter term, Fourth Year

Students should read the ENSC 4906 course syllabus for end of year deadlines.

There are two mandatory end of year expectations for Environmental Science Honours Thesis students:

  1. The Environmental Science Thesis Presentation Day where each thesis student will present their project to Faculty members of the Institute, their supervisors and their peers.
  2. The Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Day where all students in Environmental Science will be presenting their thesis in the form of a scientific poster.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Steven Cooke 16-17

The program assigns a faculty member each year to serve as a point of contact for students participating in the thesis course.  The faculty member can assist with any conflicts (with supervisor) and provide direction on requirements for the thesis (to the student and their supervisor if the supervisor is unfamiliar with the expectation for ENSC).  The faculty member will send reminder emails to those registered in the course regarding appropriate milestones and expectations.  There will also be several ad hoc meetings where students will be able to share their progress and challenges with their peers and the faculty coordinator.  There will also be several workshops on topics such as “making the most of your thesis experience” and “how to prepare a poster”.  Any student encountering difficulty with the thesis are encouraged to contact the faculty coordinator ASAP.