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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University


Jordan Bissell
Academic Advisor
Biology Undergraduate Office
Jordan A115

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 themselves?

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 Animal Behavior 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 sessions and this will only count for ONE semester of work).

Students should check with the Biology advisors before beginning their 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 on 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 courses?

Students interested in research are usually in their sophomore or junior year and they have taken several major courses including lectures and labs.

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 fields.

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 of atmosphere.

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.

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