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Biological Sciences Departmental Honors

The Biological Sciences Department offers a departmental honors program for undergraduate students.

Outstanding undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences at the junior or senior level who maintain an accumulative GPA of at least 3.50 may be eligible to earn Departmental Honors from their department of major. A thesis or project is required as the culmination of supervised research or an appropriate project carried out over several terms; therefore, it is best to start exploring the possibility of an honors thesis no later than the beginning of the junior year.

Graduation with Departmental Honors is a special achievement, and students who graduate with such honors will be recognized at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony and will be acknowledged at Graduation and on their diploma.

To graduate with Department Honors in the Biological Sciences through the College of Arts & Sciences, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Start doing research with a faculty mentor in the Biological Sciences Department or Biomedical Sciences Department during your junior year. Generally, this means enrolling in BIOS 4940 during spring semester of the junior year.
  • Discuss doing a senior honors thesis with your faculty research mentor and the Departmental Honors Coordinator, Dr. Christine Griffin, before the end of your junior year.
  • Enroll in BIOS 4940H Honors Undergraduate Research in fall of your senior year. Prerequisites are 25 credit hours in BIOS, BIOS 4940 or other research, 3.5 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor, and permission of Departmental Honors Coordinator. This course is designed for seniors in fall semester who plan to graduate in the spring with honors in the Biological Sciences Department by having a high GPA, completing a research project, and writing an honors thesis (BIOS 4941H). The course is for 2-6 credit hours (usually 4-6) and requires permission of both the research mentor and Departmental Honors Coordinator.
  • Enroll in BIOS 4941H Senior Honors Thesis in spring semester of your senior year, complete an honors research thesis, and give an oral presentation of your work. Prerequisites are BIOS 4940H, 3.5 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor and permission of Departmental Honors Coordinator. Students who have completed a BIOS 4940H research project may write up their research as an honors thesis. The thesis must be approved by the research mentor, a second faculty reader, the Departmental Honors Coordinator, and the College of Arts & Sciences thesis guidelines. Students must present their research in a talk. The course is 3-6 credit hours (generally 4-6) and is graded.
  • Graduate with a GPA of at least 3.5, i.e., cum laude, in the major and overall.

If you are interested in this program, you must start planning with your research mentor and the Departmental Honors Coordinator in your junior year. Contact Dr. Christine Griffin for more information.

These guidelines are for students who intend to graduate in spring semester of their senior year; students who do not intend to graduate in spring semester should contact the Departmental Honors Coordinator for specific instructions.

Eligibility

Interested students must apply to the Departmental Honors Coordinator in spring semester of their junior year. To be eligible to apply, students must be majors in the Biological Sciences Department and must have a GPA of at least 3.5 (both overall and within the major). Students must already have the agreement of a faculty research mentor and a defined research project before they are eligible to enter the Honors program.

Students who do not meet this requirement may still do a Senior Thesis, BIOS 4941, but they will not be eligible for the Departmental Honors Program. These students should contact the coordinator for BIOS 4941 before the start of their senior year for more information.

Requirements

For a student to graduate with honors, the faculty research mentor, the Departmental Honors Coordinator, and the College of Arts & Sciences must approve the student’s thesis. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 (both overall and in the major) at graduation.

Students in the Departmental Honors Program who complete a Senior Thesis and the Senior Honors Thesis course (BIOS 4941H), but whose GPA drops below 3.5 (either overall or within the major) by graduation will receive course credit for their thesis work, but they will not graduate with Departmental Honors.

 

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