Honors Program Activities

The Biology Honors Program provides undergraduate students with first-hand knowledge of the research process and associated activities. Activities of the program largely mirror those of graduate school, albeit in more limited scope, and therefore this program is particularly worthwhile for students considering going on to graduate school to pursue a Master's or PhD.

Students participating in the Biology Honors Program engage in the following activities:

  • approximately 2 years of independent research, mentored closely by a faculty member
  • developing and writing a research proposal, in which the student describes the work that is planned, provides context for the study, and justifies the work based on current knowledge gaps in the field
  • writing a research honors thesis, in which the student describes the research they performed, including motivation, methods, results, conclusions, and significance of the research, all in the format of a scientific journal publication   
  • defending the thesis, in which the student delivers a presentation of their research and defends the work to a thesis committee comprising three faculty
  • participating in the weekly Biology Honors Seminar, in which students engage in structured activities designed to support and extend their involvement in the program (including through guest presentations, discussions, readings, peer mentoring, and peer review) and to provide them with a supportive community 

Through these activities, students in the program gain experience in the following:

  • reading and understanding scientific literature​
  • identifying gaps in current scientific knowledge
  • choosing a research problem to address
  • developing hypotheses and formulating research questions
  • learning research methods
  • collecting data
  • analyzing data
  • interpreting findings
  • scientific writing (both proposal and article formats)
  • scientific presentation (oral presentations in both informal and formal settings)
  • answering questions about the study
  • peer review
  • peer mentoring
  • working independently and collaboratively