Letter to Research Mentors

(To be filled out by the student, signed and handed to their research mentor. You can download this file and open it in Word, if you prefer)
This form (and a lot more information about the seminar) is also on-line, see senior seminar website:

Student's name and contact info:

First of all: Thank you so much for agreeing to mentor one of our students!

The goal of the joint Columbia/Barnard Thesis Research Seminar is to provide a framework for the students to conduct guided, independent, in-depth research culminating in the senior thesis. We meet weekly to biweekly  to review work in progress and share results through oral and written reports. All senior majors are required  to write a senior thesis and participate in the Environmental Science Senior Research Seminar. The senior seminar can be taken in the fall/spring sequence of the senior year, or in the sequence spring (junior year)/fall (senior year). The goal of the first semester is to write a thesis proposal, that of the second to complete the thesis. We strongly encourage students to consider a summer internship between junior and senior semester.

You are the research mentor of your student. Each student has also a seminar advisor who helps your student with the process, in particular with scientific writing, but typically is not an expert in the field of the student's research. Your role as research mentor is to ensure that the scientific approach of the project is sound and that the student has the resources and support needed to conduct the work. While feedback on the writing is welcome - that will be the primary focus of the seminar advisor.

Division of responsibilities:

Seminar Advisor Research Mentor (you)
  • Deadlines
  • Writing/presentations
  • Big picture content
  • Evaluation/grading
  • State-of-the-art of the field, incl. literature
  • Methods/approach
  • Analysis, including data/statistics
  • Interpretation and conclusions
  • Resources

We want our students to be independent researchers in the senior seminar, and communications should go through the student. However, if you feel that a direct discussion between you (the mentor) and the seminar advisor is necessary, here is his/her contact information:

Seminar advisor's name, email address and phone number:         

Please send a quick email (today!) to the seminar advisor of your student so that contact is established and to acknowledge that you received this letter.

Here are a few additional tips that you might find useful:

1st semester students
2nd semester students
2/16/23 outline (1st draft) of thesis proposal 1st draft of thesis
10 min oral presentation
10 min oral presentation
3/30 thesis proposal 2nd draft 2nd draft of thesis
poster drafts, 30s slide
poster presentation!
5/1 final thesis proposal
final thesis
~5/10 feedback from mentors required
feedback from mentors required

Student's Pledge

I accordance with the guidelines of the senior seminar I agree to:
Student signature & date: