Honors in Biology

Overview

 Graduation with Honors designation requires 2 semesters and 2 full units of senior research in addition to the 3.5 major GPA, a thesis, and a presentation. Students are required to submit an honors nomination form.

Junior Year: Students planning to seek Honors designation shall select an Honors Committee comprised of 3 faculty members (1 member will be the student's mentor and 1 may be from outside the department as appropriate). The senior research proposal (as described above) shall be reviewed by the committee members prior to finalization by the beginning of the senior fall semester.

Summer between the junior and senior year: Students planning to seek Honors designation are especially encouraged to apply for summer research opportunities in the mentor's lab.

Fall Semester Senior Year: Students seeking Honors designation will enroll in Bio 489 or 468 for 1 unit. The faculty mentor will consult with committee members and assign an appropriate grade for the semester's work. Students who receive a 3.0 or less for this grade normally may not continue in the honors program at the discretion of the faculty mentor. During the last week of fall semester classes, those students seeking Honors must submit a progress report of their research to the committee. The committee will then, if appropriate, nominate the student for Honors designation. The faculty mentor will submit the nomination form to the department chair on behalf of the committee and the department chair will then inform the student(s) of attaining this milestone of exemplary accomplishment.

Spring Semester Senior Year: Nominated Honors students will enroll in Bio. 499 and will bring their research to "conclusion".

All Honors students will present their research work at the Festival of Science (oral or poster). Presentation of the work at a national conference prior to graduation will substitute for this requirement. If for any reason students are unable to meet this requirement, they must orally present their research at a special departmental seminar before the end of the final exam period.

Honors students normally will submit a draft of their thesis to the committee members by the Friday, two weeks prior to the end of classes. Committee members will review the draft and return comments and suggestions to the mentor by the Friday, one week before the end of classes.

Honors students must submit at the biology department office by the last day of finals at least 4 original copies of the final thesis for binding (1 copy for department, 1 copy for the mentor, 1 copy for the student, and 1 copy for the library). Extra copies may be submitted for binding for other Honors committee members if requested but must be paid for by the appropriate department.

Although most decisions about the conduct and evaluation of the Honors research are determined by the mentor, the Honors committee also has a collaborative role in the assessment of the work. If the research is judged by the committee as worthy of honors and the guidelines have been met, the student will receive a grade of 3.5 or 4.0 in Biology SYE-499 and will have the Honors designation noted on his or her transcript and on the graduation program. If the project advisor OR both of the other committee members judge the project as not worthy of Honors or if the guidelines have not been met, the student will receive a grade lower than 3.5, will not be designated as graduating with Honors (this decision must be made by Wednesday of senior week), and the course will then count as regular SYE Research unless the grade assigned is a "0."