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GES Departmental Honors

GES Departmental Honors

Students who maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 in the major are eligible to graduate with departmental honors upon successful completion of the following:

1. Three (3) additional GES credits (1 course) designated as Honors at the 300 or 400 level, or three (3) credits of graduate-level course work if the student plans to enroll in the MS Pathway program. You may also arrange with a GES faculty member (in consultation with your advisor) to complete additional honors work in regular departmental courses. Students should plan to complete this course prior to registering for GES 491H.

2. GES 491H: Independent Study (3 credits)– This course must be taken before GES 499; therefore the latest students may take it is in their second to last semester. Students are required to complete a project proposal by the end of the course.

3. GES 499: Honors Thesis (3 credits) – Eligibility to enroll in GES 499 requires senior standing, maintenance of the minimum grade point average (listed above) through the end of the previous academic semester, completion of at least one 400-level course in a topic area related to the thesis research, and permission of the student’s faculty advisor, along with a completed project proposal from GES 491H.

Honors students must earn minimum of nine (9) credits of honors course work in the department.

The Honors Thesis (GES 499):
Each student will be assigned to a member of the Honors Committee who, along with the student’s advisor, will review and provide feedback on the honors’ thesis proposal. Upon completion, the thesis will be evaluated and graded by the student’s advisor and the honors committee member.  The department will award honors to students who maintain the required cumulative GPA and earn at least a B on her/his thesis.

In addition, each honors student is required to present the results of his or her work. The presentation can be either oral or as a poster (or both) at one or more public forums such as a professional meeting, UMBC’s annual spring Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD), or on the date reserved for undergraduate research during the Geography & Environmental Systems Department seminar series.

Any questions regarding the GES Honors program should be directed to Dr. Dawn Biehler, coordinator of the Undergraduate Program Committee (

Click on the link to download the application. GES_DeptHonors_Application