Honors Program

Honors in Geography

The Department of Geography and Planning offers Honors courses on all undergraduate levels, which are open to students who have distinguished themselves. Honors courses carry full credit toward the majors in geography and planning, or for non-majors full elective credit.

Subject to the recommendations of the departmental Honors Committee, a student will be considered for graduation
with Honors in Geography upon successful completion of at least one semester of honors work in a designated freshman/sophomore level honors course (GHY 1010, GHY 1020, and PLN 2410); one junior level honors course (GHY 3510) which may be taken twice; and the Senior Honors Thesis (GHY 4510). Those students meeting these requirements with the grade of "A" will be considered for graduation with honors in geography.

Honors Courses

GHY/PLN 3510: Advanced Honors Seminar in Geography / Planning (3) S - Seminar on selected geographic topics. Enrollment by invitation of the Department or by application. Barring repetitive content, qualified students may repeat course once. For enrollees, this course may substitute for the appropriate Geography elective.

GHY/PLN 4510: Senior Honors Thesis (1-4) On Demand - Independent study and research for an end product, the honors thesis; directed by a member of the geography faculty, supported by one additional faculty member who may be external to the department. Enrollment by qualified applicants only. For enrollees, this course may substitute for a Geography & Planning free elective or other course as agreed upon by the Geography & Planning Honors Advisor.

The Geography and Planning Honors Contract Application is available here.

For more information regarding the Honors College at Appalachian, please contact Dr. Maggie Sugg, Department Honors Director, at kovachmm@appstate.edu.

Honors College

Honors College of Appalachian: "All students wishing to graduate with University Honors from the Honors College must complete a minimum three-hour Honors College Thesis. These intense, individually designed and directed experiences demand a great deal of both the student and his or her thesis committee, but the rewards are just as great. As a smaller version of a master's thesis, this experience should immerse the students in the field they are researching and provide them an immediate and intimate engagement with the material they are studying."

Honors College Thesis vs. Departmental Honors Thesis

It is possible to use the same thesis to satisfy both the Honors College and Geography & Planning honors graduation requirements, if students are pursuing both programs. The thesis must meet all Honors College thesis guidelines, as well as the department’s requirements. Where conflicts appear, the student must check with both the Honors College and Geography & Planning for the acceptable format.


Andersen, Lauren. 2017. A Vulnerability Assessment Of Extreme Drought And Unprecedented Wildfire In The Southern Appalachian Mountains. Thesis Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Shay.

Burton, Eric. 2017. Meteorological, Chemical, And Isotopic Characteristics Of Precipitation Events On The Quelccaya Icecap, Peru: 2014-2016. Thesis Advisor: Dr. Baker Perry.

Shadomy, Zachary. 2017. High-Resolution Land Use And Land Cover Mapping: Boone, North Carolina. Thesis Advisor: Art Rex.

Sherman, Bryanna. 2015. Urban Agriculture: The Impact of Local Food on Community Life. Thesis Advisor: Dr. Rich Crepeau.