PAM student in class

PAM Honors Program


The Honors Program recognizes the highest level of academic achievement among PAM majors.  The following provides important information about the Honors Program, including eligibility, the application procedure, and requirements.  The Honors Program is a rigorous and rewarding endeavor.  Though the application process begins in your junior year, in order to be successful it is important that you plan your curriculum carefully, even as a freshman and sophomore.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to graduate with Honors students must be in residence for eight semesters (students can still opt for Study Abroad programs, etc, because these programs require registration as a Cornell student).  Transfer students are eligible for the Honors Program as long as they remain in residence for all semesters after they transfer.  Students must achieve and maintain a GPA of at least 3.3 to be eligible for the Honors Program, and the 3.3 GPA must be maintained even after being admitted into the Honors Program.  Students whose GPA drops below 3.3 will be dropped from the Honors Program (though these students can register for special studies in order to complete their research).

Application Procedure

It is preferable that students apply for acceptance into the PAM Honors Program during the first semester of their junior year (the second semester of junior year is the latest possible period for application).  Students must complete a PAM Honors Program Application Form.  To complete the form, students must identify and get the consent of a PAM faculty Research Mentor.  The Research Mentor will help the student identify a topic, and act as an advisor throughout the Honors Program.  The Research Mentor must approve the student’s proposed thesis topic and sign the application form.  The student will be notified within two weeks of submitting the PAM Honors Program Application whether they are accepted into the program.

The PAM Honors Thesis

The major component of the Honors Program is the honors thesis.  Each student is required to conduct original research on a topic chosen by the student.  The research must be written up in a formal scientific manner.  PAM 4990 Honors Seminar is the official course title for the Honors Program research.  Students may register for up to 6 credits in PAM 4990 over their last three semesters.  The research will be supervised by the PAM faculty Research Mentor.  The final research will be graded during an oral thesis defense by the Research Mentor, and an additional Faculty Representative who is assigned by the PAM Director of Undergraduate Studies.  The written thesis must be submitted the day before spring break of the senior year.  The Research Mentor and Faculty Representative may request revisions which must be incorporated into the final version of the written thesis that is due by the last day of classes.

Additional Requirements

In addition to the honors thesis, students must complete the following requirements in order to successfully complete the Honors Program.  For the most part these requirements are designed to aid in the research process.

  1. Students must take PAM 3120 Research Design, Practice, and Policy prior to their fall senior semester.  

  2. Students must complete a basic and advanced statistical software training session offered through CISER by the end of the fall semester in their senior year. (Note: the PAM department has adopted the STATA software package for use in all undergraduate courses).   

  3. Students must attend four professional research seminars during their senior year (decided upon in conjunction with their Research Mentor).

  4. Students must enroll in PAM 4980 Honors Seminar during the fall semester of their senior year.  In order to continue in the Honors Program students must receive a grade of B or higher. 

  5. Students must meet with their Research Mentor and the instructor of PAM 4980 at the beginning of the fall semester senior year to set out written expectations regarding progress on the thesis during the fall semester.  The PAM 4980 instructor will consult with the Research Mentor at the end of the fall semester to determine if the student has met the expectations, and to decide on the appropriate grade for PAM 4980.

  6. Students are required to complete and present a poster of their research at a poster session organized by the Director of Undergraduate Studies between April 15 and the last day of classes in the spring semester. Past Honor Posters

Honors degree

If the thesis is defended to the satisfaction of the thesis committee, and a final thesis with revisions suggested during the defense has been approved, the student will graduate with honors.  The honors will appear on the student’s Cornell transcript and diploma.


Please refer to the timetable that describes key dates for the honors program.  Students must adhere to this timetable to complete the honors program and complete various forms.

If you have additional questions please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who runs the Honors Program.