To prepare Environmental Studies students for life after graduation, students have the opportunity to explore a topic in which they are passionate and want to learn more about. Each student selects a senior research project or other scholarly activity and works with a mentor to complete it.

When beginning to think about the project, a student should ask themselves “What am I interested in learning more about?” The senior thesis is designed to give students freedom to explore their interests in the realm of Environmental Studies.

Students practice skills important to employers and graduate schools: critical thinking, analytical problem solving, project management, time management, organization, and written and oral communication.

Financial resources: Undergraduate Creative Activity and Research Experience (UCARE) and scholarships.



  • Impacts of Land Use on Nutrient Levels in Nebraska Lakes
  • A Study of College Student's Environmental Perspective in Relation to Outdoor Recreation Participation
  • Solving Plastic Waste Buildup with Plasma Gasification
  • A Trail Plan for the Prairie Corridor


Research poster

Religion and Environmental Worldviews
Monica Hergenrader and Stephanie Emodi, Religious Studies

Read these on the Digital Commons


During the senior thesis project, a student should know they are not alone. Each senior thesis project is guided by two mentors – a thesis adviser and a thesis reader - who act as guides as the year-long research process is completed. An Environmental Studies student will have many professors as they make their way through their undergraduate career. As students move through their classes, they should keep in mind that making connections with instructors may prove useful when it's time to find mentors for their senior thesis project. Thesis advisers are usually UNL professors, but the professors can be from any college on campus.

Current and former thesis advisers

Project timeline


  • Make connections with professors prior to senior year as two mentors are a part of the thesis process. Asking professors about their research is a great way to begin making these connections.
  • Explore UCARE opportunities and other research opportunities on campus.
  • Brainstorm project ideas before senior year. The research process can always begin before senior year.


  • This semester long portion of the project includes more in class time to understand the thesis process in more detail.
  • What will be accomplished by the end of the semester:
    • Identify Two Thesis Mentors
    • Develop, Write, and Present a Project Proposal
    • Take the IRB Training, if the project involves human participants


  • The second semester of the thesis project will involve less in class time as most time will be self-managed to complete the thesis project. At this point, 499a gave an understanding of the details of the thesis process. Now is the time to complete the project with all the information gained in 499a.
  • What will have accomplished by the end of the semester:
    • Finished Written Thesis
    • An Oral Presentation
    • Poster Presentation


How early should I begin the process?
The earlier you start thinking about the process, the better. Although the project can be completed during your senior year, it is always helpful to begin thinking about the project beforehand. You can think of different topics you're interested in, what kind of research you will need to collect, and what advisers you may want to have.

What are the biggest challenges related to the thesis project?
The biggest challenge students face when completing the project include time management and writing the paper. There are plenty of resources available to help you through these challenging aspects of the project.

When should I begin collecting data for the project?
You may find it helpful to being the research collecting for your thesis project before your senior year. It is not required to begin before senior year.

I'm worried about finding mentors for the project. What can I do?
You will have two advisers for your thesis project that you meet with on a regular basis. You will meet with them regularly and they will help guide you through the process. As you are making your way through your undergraduate career, remember to make connections with professors and ask them about their research. These connections will come in handy when you need to find an adviser!

If you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed by this project, you can always contact the Environmental Studies Director. This project is not meant to stress our students out, but rather provide an opportunity for students to conduct an authentic research and creative project on a question, issue, or topic, in which they are interested and passionate about.