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The Rausser College of Natural Resources Honors Program is designed to support undergraduate students interested in developing, executing, and evaluating a year-long independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Students who successfully complete the Honors Program will earn recognition at graduation and will also receive a notation of Honors in their major on their diploma. The Honors Symposium, held once each semester, gives all Honors students the opportunity to present their research to fellow students, faculty, Deans, friends, and family.

Student in lab

Plant and microbial biology student Mary Ahern. Photo: Jim Block


  • Possess a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.6 or higher.
  • Have completed a minimum of 60 semester units (attained junior or senior status).
  • Junior transfer students must have completed at least one semester at UC Berkeley with a 3.6 GPA.
  • Have no more than 2 incomplete grades on your academic record.
  • Must be on campus for two semesters of consecutive research.

Program Requirements

  • Complete 8 units of letter-graded departmental honors courses with your faculty mentor and earn a grade of B or better each semester. Students enroll in a four-unit H196 course for two consecutive semesters. Environmental Sciences students enroll in ESPM H175A and H175L in the fall, and ESPM H175B and H175L in the spring.
  • Maintain a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.6 or better through graduation.
  • Give an oral presentation at the Rausser College Honors Symposium. A one page summary of your paper is due to the Honors Program Coordinator the day of the oral presentation.
  • Write an honors research thesis and submit copies to your Faculty Sponsor/Research Mentor. Thesis format will conform to the expectations for submission of a "publishable" paper to the relevant research discipline.

How to Apply

  • Submit your research proposal (300 words minimum) and Rausser College Honors Program Enrollment Form. For resources for writing your proposal, follow the suggestions from the Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarships and VCResearch. 
  • Identify a faculty mentor to serve as your research mentor. If you choose to work with a faculty member outside of Rausser College, you must also identify a faculty sponsor in your home department at Rausser. If your research mentor is a Rausser faculty member, you do not need to find an additional sponsor. Environmental Sciences students are required to obtain the signature of an ESPM 175 instructor in addition to their research mentor (if they are different).
  • Submit your Honors Program Enrollment Form to 260 Mulford Hall by the end of the third week of instruction of the semester in which you plan to enroll in the Honors Program. The Honors Program Coordinator will enroll students directly in the course after eligibility has been verified.
  • Email if you have any additional questions. 

SPUR and the Honors Program

Rausser College encourages students applying to the Honors Program to also apply for funding through the Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program. Honors students may submit a Student-Initiated Proposal and request up to $2,000 in funding through SPUR.  The deadline to submit a Student-Initiated Proposal is typically a month earlier than the Honors Program enrollment deadline, so please plan accordingly. 

Double Majors

If you wish to participate in the Honors Program in one major, the guidelines described above are exactly the same.

If you wish to pursue Honors in both majors, you must meet the full requirements of the program for both majors. You will need two research projects with two research mentors, and a faculty sponsor in each department. You must take 8 units of H196 with each sponsor and write two publishable papers. This kind of endeavor will almost certainly take two years to accomplish, so careful planning is a must.

Simultaneous Degree Students

Simultaneous degree students are welcome to pursue Honors in their Rausser College major, with all the same requirements and opportunities.

Archive of Past Participants Projects

Interested in seeing what research projects previous participants have completed? You may review a list of past participants and their project titles here. Since the start of the Rausser College Honors' Program in 1996, a total of 692 students have graduated with HONORS from Rausser as of Spring 2019.