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SUST 4900

Honours Thesis

In this class we examine the research process as students complete a senior honours thesis. Over the course of the academic year, students will design a research project, conduct research (collect and analyze data), and write a thesis, supervised by a faculty member in their partner discipline.

The ESS thesis explores an issue related to questions of sustainability, and operates at the place of intersection with their other major discipline. The objective is to craft a piece of original research that makes connections between different types of knowledge and ways of understanding, and that in some way embodies the student’s individual sense of self and his or her interests.

The fall term features a series of seminars about crafting a research question, research methods and ethics, etc. and draws on the expertise of cross-appointed faculty from across the university. The winter term is usually collecting and analyzing data, writing and presenting the thesis.


Here is a sampling of the honours projects ESS students have completed:

  • Wasted Potential: An investigation into the embodied energy in Dalhousie's food waste
    Daniel Brown
    (BA: ESS & International Development Studies). Winner of the Best Undergraduate Poster at the 2012 Elizabeth May Symposium and the SUST Star Prize for academic achievement
  • Remodeling Ontario's Green Home Industry: Lessons from abroad and at home
    Matthew Corbeth
    (BA: ESS & Political Science).
  • Promoting Change Throughout Energy Systems Using Economic Incentives:  A novel approach to electricity billing to improve the city of Summerside's energy security and reduce its carbon emissions
    Megan McCarthy
    (BMgmt: ESS & Management). Winner of Dalhousie's StartUp Weekend for "Green with Energy" (15th best new StartUp application in the world)
  • Connecting places: A pragmatic approach to rapid transit for the Halifax Region
    Alex Kawchuk
    (BA: ESS & History of Science & Technology)
  • Relearning food: Agricultural literacy in the elementary school science curriculum of Nova Scotia.
    Emma Norton
    (BA: ESS & IDS)
  • Determining solid waste strategies for Dalhousie University's Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Departments
    Angelica Ciurlia
    (BA: ESS & International Development Studies). Winner of Most Improved Student award and Best Thesis Project award.
  • Tightening the Belt: A Comparitive ANalysis of the Effectiveness of the Urban Growth Boundary in Portland, Oregon and the Ontario Greenbelt in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario
    Megan Pagniello (BA: ESS & Political Science)
  • The Fruits of Nature: Invesitigating the Prospects for Fruit Trees on Halifax School Grounds
    Kendra Marshman (BA: ESS & Canadian Studies)
  • New to Farming: Exploring the motivations and experiences of small-scale farmers in Nova Scotia
    Hope Perez  (BA: ESS/SOSA, minor in Journalism)
  • Community Development in Spryfield: Creating an Urban Farm
    Bailey Austin-Macmillan (BA: ESS/IDS)
  • Talking Trees: Sustainable Narratives of the Logging and Forestry Industries in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and their Relationships with Mi'kmaq Peoples
    Bridget Graham (BA: ESS / Canadian Studies)
  • How Deep is the Pit? Economic Externatilies, Cultural Sustainability and the Environment in Contemporary Nova Scotian Mining Fiction
    Cairistiona Clark (BA: ESS/English, minor in Biology)
  • Wild Pollinator Contribution to Crop Yield: A comparison of landscape characteristics and their effect on seend sets of canola (Brassica sp.) in Alberta
    Brogan Carruthers (BSc.:  ESS/ENVS)
  • Examining the Media's Portrayal of Idle No More: A critical discourse analysis
    Emily Caddell (BA: ESS/IDS, minor in Political Science)
  • Forward Moving Growth: Dartmouth NS as a candidate for transit-oriented development
    Brady Crewe (BA:  ESS/IDS)
  • Experiences of Silence: An exploration of peoples' experiences of intentional silence
    Benjamin Reid-Howells  (BA: ESS/Social Anthropology)
  • Pilot Test for Reliability and Validity of a New Assessment Tool Measuring Relationships Between Individual Health and Environmental Sustainability
    Laura Barlett  (BA: ESS and Sociology)
  • An Exploration of the Range in Public Perceptions of Small- and Large-scale Wind Power Developments in Nova Scotia, Canada
    Isabel Morin (BA: ESS / CTMP)
  • Act, Think, Eat, Drink Locally: Understanding the motivations of student consumers to support the local food movement in Nova Scotia
    Sam Maize  (BA: ESS / IDS)
  • Canada and its Commons: Institutional support for a nascent social sector
    Lars Boggild  (BA: ESS & Political Science)
  • Sowing the Seeds of Experiential Learning: Perspectives on the creation of a high school gardening class in the Halifax Regional Municipality
    Lucy Dykhuis (BA: Ess & Canadian Studies)
  • Exploring Marine Protected Areas: A baseline governance assessment of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico
    Robyn Pirie (BSc: ESS & Marine Biology)
  • Community-based Water Monitoring Programs in Atlantic Canada's First Nations Communities
    Victoria Reed (BScL ESS & Biology)