Program Requirements

Enrollment in Honors Research (BSCI 399H) each semester. Students must register for 1-2 credits of Honors Research (under their mentor's or co-mentor's section number) each semester in the program.

Enrollment in Honors Seminar (BSCI 398H) each semester. The Honors Seminar is a weekly seminar in which Honors students meet to discuss progress in the program, discuss relevant topics with each other and with guest speakers, present their research to the group, and provide and receive feedback, support and mentoring. Because of the importance placed on developing and maintaining close ties within the group and on intellectual engagement of all students in the program, this seminar is required each semester. A waiver of this requirement is granted by the Biology Honors Director (with alternative assignments assigned in lieu) only if the student has a conflict involving a course that is required for graduation. A waiver is not granted for more than one semester or for the student's final semester in the program (when the student defends their thesis).

Submission of a research Thesis Proposal that has been approved by the student's mentor. The proposal should be developed in consultation with the mentor and should include the background and motivation for the proposed work, a clearly stated hypothesis or question (or set of hypotheses or questions), the methodology to be used for acquiring the data, and a discussion of how the data will be analyzed and interpreted. The proposal is due to the Biology Honors Program Director no later than one year before the Thesis Defense, which is typically at the end of the junior year. 
Submission of an Honors Thesis, approved first by the student's mentor and then by the Thesis Committee.
 The thesis should be written in the format of a scientific research article and should include background and motivation for the study, hypotheses or questions that were addressed, methods, results, and discussion of findings, including the significance of the study. The student's mentor will provide comments on the thesis, and must approve the thesis before it is sent to the Thesis Committee. The Thesis Committee includes the mentor and at least two additional faculty, selected by the student in consultation with the mentor. The Committee must be approved by the Biology Honors Program Director. The thesis must be sent to the Thesis Committee at least least two weeks prior to the scheduled Thesis Defense. After the student incorporates any comments from the Thesis Committee, the final version of the Thesis is submitted to the Biology Honors Program Director, along with the signed Honors Thesis Defense Form indicating approval by the committee. Submission of the Honors Thesis and the Oral Defense of the thesis occur in the last semester in the program, typically in the second semester of the senior year. The final thesis and signed defense form are due to the Biology Honors Program Director no later than 2 weeks prior to the registrar's deadline for graduation. 

Oral Defense of the Honors Thesis. The student will defend their thesis orally, with a presentation of their research followed by an examination by the Thesis Committee. The oral presentation is announced to the entire Department of Biology and is open to the public. It should be about 20-30 minutes, after which the student will take questions from the audience. Then the audience will depart and the student and their Thesis Committee will remain for the Thesis Examination. The Examination will consist of questions by the examiners on the research itself, the research topic and broader relevant areas. The examiners evaluate the student's performance in the presentation and defense, the student's written thesis, and the student's level of research performance. If the student successfully passes the oral defense, the examiners then recommend that the student graduate with "Honors" or "High Honors". In general, the "High" category is reserved for exceptional students who have made an exceptional presentation, shown exceptional knowledge about their subject area and thesis work, and have presented research at national meetings or authored or co-authored a paper that has been accepted for publication. An Honors Thesis Defense Form must be filled out and signed by the student's committee at the time of the oral defense and returned with the completed Thesis no later than 2 weeks prior to the registrar's deadline for graduation. 

Graduation. When the student graduates, the student's diploma will read (for example): Bachelor of Science, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, "Honors in Biology" or "High Honors in Biology."