How to do an Honours Thesis in Environmental Science

The undergraduate Honours Thesis in Environmental Science is intended for students who are interested in undertaking an independent research project on the topic of environmental science, under the supervision of SFU faculty or an external supervisor where appropriate.

Who can supervise my thesis?

The supervisor can be any Assistant or Associate Professor at SFU working in the field of environmental science (within the School of Environmental Science, or outside). It can also be a Continuing or Senior Lecturer, or Adjunct Professor with special permission which is arranged through the Approval of Supervisor form. Supervisors should be a natural or mathematical scientist and usually will be found in the Faculty of Environment, Science, or Applied Sciences. The supervisor can be external to SFU if you arrange to have a titular supervisor at SFU who works with an external person to fulfill a co-supervisor role – this can again by arranged through the Approval of Supervisor form.

Steps to complete:

  1.  Speak with the School of Environmental Science (SES) Undergraduate Advisor about the requirements and your plans for a thesis (
  2. Find a supervisor and plan your timeline and funding applications. Look through faculty profiles on departmental and school websites or speak with your instructors or advisor to see what kind of research people are conducting and who might be an appropriate choice for your project. Send in an Approval of Supervisor form if your preferred supervisor is a Lecturer or Adjunct Professor, or external to SFU.
    • Your thesis may be a portion of a larger project that your supervisor or a senior lab member is working on, it could be analysis of existing data, meta-data analysis, observations you make and accompanying analysis. It is critical however that your undergraduate thesis be your own work.
    • Review funding options if you would like to extend research over more than 2 semesters (RA-ship, Work-Study, USRA, Ocean Action Grant, MITACS).
  3. Complete the online application.
  4. Enroll in EVSC 489 – Thesis I and undertake independent work as defined by your supervisor and project in the lab, under the supervision of your supervisor or a senior lab member.
    • Examples of work appropriate for this course would be data collection, a literature review, an annotated bibliography, a research plan or proposal, a series of presentations to your lab group, etc.
  5. Once you have completed EVSC 489 – Thesis I you are ready to enroll in EVSC 490W – Thesis II. This class should be used for you to analyse your data and write your thesis. The SES Undergraduate Advisor will enroll you in this course once the regular course enrollment appointments have ended.
  6. Write the thesis and submit it to your supervisor. Develop a timeline with your supervisor to allow them plenty of time to read and suggest revisions. The thesis should be in the format of a MSc thesis, using their template (its size and scope should be much smaller than a MSc thesis!).
  7. Organize and submit all your data to your supervisor for archiving.
  8. Once the thesis is complete, the student will submit it to the SES Undergraduate Advisor ( in PDF format. The supervisor will submit all grades to the SES Undergraduate Advisor for processing as well.

You should consider publishing your thesis in the SFU Science Undergraduate Journal ( It is a journal specifically designed for undergraduate theses. But check with your advisor before pursuing this, as they may have other plans for your thesis!