College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Program Requirements

1. Enrollment in Honors Seminar (BSCI 398H) each semester.This is a 1-hour seminar in which Honors students meet weekly to discuss their progress and make research presentations to their peers. Because of the importance placed on the social continuity, cohesiveness and intellectual stimulation of the group, this Seminar is required each semester unless there is a conflict involving a course that is required for graduation; in this case, a waiver may be granted (with outside seminar attendance and reports required) by the Director of the Biology Honors Program, but never more than for one semester.

2. A research proposal that has been approved and signed by the mentor must be submitted to the Director of the Honors Program. This is due no later than the end of the second semester in which the student has enrolled in the program; the due date will be indicated in the letter of acceptance to the Program that is received by the student and his/her mentor. This proposal should be developed in consultation with the mentor. It should include an introduction that provides the relevant literature and background logic necessary to understand the context and significance of the proposed worked; a clearly stated hypothesis or set of hypotheses; and the methodology for acquiring and analyzing the data.

3. An Honors Thesis must be completed for review first by one's mentor and then by a faculty committee of the mentor and at least two other faculty members. The Thesis Committee is selected by the student in consultation with the mentor, and must be approved by the Director of the Honors Program. The Thesis should be written in standard scientific journal format and should be available to the Committee at least 7 days prior to the scheduled Thesis Defense. A copy of the final version of the Thesis, along with the Signed Honors Thesis Defense Form (below), is due to the Director of the Biology Honors Program no later than 2 weeks prior to the registrar's deadline (exact dates will be available from the Director each semester). 

4. An Oral Defense of the Honors Thesis will be scheduled by the student in consultation with the Director of the Biology Honors Program, who will announce it to the entire Department of Biology.The presentation should be about 20 minutes to a half hour, after which questions from the audience will be entertained. Then the audience will depart and the student and his/her 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, showed 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. The mentor must inform the Director of the Biology Honor Program of the defense outcome and the graduation status (did not successfully pass the defense; passed with Honors or High Honors) by email within two days of the Defense. 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 (exact dates will be available from the Director each semester). 

5. Graduation. At the College Graduation, the student's name will be announced, followed by "Honors in Biology" or "High Honors in Biology", as the student walks across the stage to receive his/her diploma. In addition, 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." Students may receive Honors in more than one department but the program requirements of both departments must be met, the student must have prior approval from the Director of the Biology Honors Program, and theses completed for each Honors Program must be independent (i.e., the same project may not be used to meet the requirements of two Honors programs).