The Botany Department believes that writing a thesis/report based on original research can be one of the most valuable experiences of an undergraduate career. The conception, execution, and analysis of a research project in collaboration with a faculty advisor can help one integrate knowledge gained from a variety of sources and apply it to a specific problem. Writing a lucid closely reasoned report on this original work can itself be one of the more useful aspects of the experience. A thesis/report provides an opportunity for extensive, one-on-one contact with a faculty member, as well as first-hand experience with the nature of scientific research; for some students it may serve as a stepping stone to graduate school and a scientific career. For all these reasons the Department thus requires all undergraduates majoring in Botany to write a senior thesis or report based on original research. A senior thesis is a large, independent research project that students take on during their senior year of college to fulfill their graduation requirement. It is the culminating work of their studies at a particular institution, and it represents their ability to conduct research and write effectively.