Graduating with Honors in Biology

The Honors Program in Biology is designed to recognize the accomplishments of students in research and independent study – activities perhaps growing out of, but distinctly different from, most classroom work. A student graduating with Honors in Biology has committed herself/ himself to pursuing ideas in depth and over an extended period in the laboratory or field while working closely with a faculty advisor.  Such an experience not only may lead to new knowledge in a chosen field but, perhaps more importantly, gives the student a real appreciation of the diverse ways in which science confronts and explores the natural world. The research that the student chooses to submit for consideration for honors need not be completed in the senior year.  The work could have been completed before the senior year.

To graduate with the distinction “Honors in Biology,” a student must:

  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses and a 3.3 in biology courses;
  • Submit an honors paper describing the research, written in the form of a scientific paper, which must be successfully defended before the Advisory Committee;
  • Prepare a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation derived from their honors thesis. This will be delivered on the Monday before the last day of classes in the spring semester, at the Department’s Honors and Awards Ceremony, where the student will be recognized for their accomplishment.

If the paper is approved by the Advisory Committee, the minimum GPA requirements are met, and the student has presented her/his work to the department, the student will graduate with Honors in Biology.

The application must include the honors advisor’s signature, the major advisor’s signature, the title of the research project, and the names of two faculty who will serve with the research advisor on an advisory committee.  Research assistant professors may serve on the advisory committee; however, if two faculty from the same lab are on the committee, one should serve as an additional (fourth) member, and be non-voting. The research assistant professor may not chair the committee.


January 31
Complete Honors in Biology form (see link above) and submit to
Undergraduate Studies Committee chairperson.

Schedule thesis defense.

Defend thesis before the advisory committee.
Present summary of research at Honors and Awards Ceremony.