Coordinator, Biology Undergraduate Office
1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific
person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?
The Biology Undergraduate Advising Office and the Director of
Undergraduate Studies act as coordinators for the program. Faculty
committees are also required and will vary from student to student.
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program?
How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend
Students who have at least a 3.3 or higher GPA and plan to do research
must contact the Biology Advising Office for an application. Students
may be recruited by faculty to pursue the honors notation, but students
usually are the ones that recommend themselves.
3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?
Students pursuing the B.S. in Biology, Microbiology or
Biotechnology or a B.A. in Biology or Microbiology
must perform at least two semesters of independent laboratory research
totaling 6 credit hours. Students register for research credit under the
course numbers Biology
L490, Medical Sciences M450, or Chemistry C409 Individual Study. (Please
note: research done in the summer must include both summer
this will only count for ONE semester of work).
Students should check with the Biology advisors before beginning
work to make sure that the choice of lab setting is appropriate, and also
to obtain an Honors Thesis Agreement form. Students' research work is
evaluated by a faculty committee chosen by the student and lab mentor,
composed of at least two faculty members in biology, in addition to one
other member. Students who would like to perform their research with
Psychological and Brain Sciences are required to register for L490 and must
complete an additional application form.
During their senior year, students must write and defend a thesis
the work done in the research laboratory. Subject to approval by the
student's faculty committee and maintaining the 3.3 GPA, the student will
earn his or her degree with honors.
4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to
prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars
and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such
Students interested in research are usually in their sophomore or junior
year and they have taken several major courses including lectures and
5. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or
research projects related to the senior project?
The department has a limited number of scholarships for students who are
interested in research. The scholarships can be used for expenses involved
in research work.
See more information at the following links:
6. How might the work required for an honors degree be particularly
beneficial in future endeavors?
Several benefits are associated with obtaining a biology degree with
honors. Practical experience with research methods is obtained. That
experience is valuable for virtually all career tracks which build upon a
Biology undergraduate degree. For example, aspiring research technicians
learn marketable skills; students who continue their education at the
graduate level usually have a head start in developing a thesis project;
and pre-professional students can use their research knowledge to better
understand recent advances in medicine, dentistry, education and other
7. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree
compared to a regular degree in your area?
The small class size of the laboratories enables faculty and students to
get to know each other well. This promotes a cohesive, small college type
Regarding other honors coursework: specific "honors" versions of
regular biology classes are sometimes offered by the Biology Department.
They are not a part of the Biology departmental honors program, although
students should check with the HHC to see if these courses can be used
toward a General Honors Notation. In order to take a Biology honors class,
students must generally have at least a 3.3 GPA and meet the course
prerequisites by a departmental deadline, as well as obtain authorization
from the department.