How to Apply

Timing of the Honors program

Although there is only a two-semester BIOL-X490 requirement for an Honors degree, you are advised to begin working toward the Honors degree as early as possible. In that way, you can obtain the full benefits of the honors program.

Undergraduates often underestimate the time required for thesis writing and some have had to abandon their Honors plans as a result. The responsibility for following the timetable outlined below lies squarely with the student.

Keep in mind that the honors thesis does not replace any coursework for the Microbiology B.A. or B.S. or the Animal Behavior degree. If you are doing an Area of Concentration (AOC) for the B.S. in Biology, your Honors thesis will not count as one of the two required upper level labs.

Students engaged in undergraduate research for the honors notation are reminded that the BIOL-X490 experience may substitute for one of the upper level laboratories required for an undergraduate degree in Biology if the honors thesis is approved. Several precisely defined steps must be taken before the department will approve such a substitution. A description of the requirements which must be met for such a substitution is available from the Biology Advisors in JH A115. No substitution of this kind will be made without such approval. Students pursuing a degree with honors can be reasonably sure that such a substitution will be approved upon completion of the written requirements and documentation.

No later than nine months prior to the time the Honors degree is to be awarded, the potential candidate should have identified a probable thesis director and should have established at least a general topic for the work to be done. Students are encouraged to visit with faculty in areas they find most interesting and can seek advice from Biology academic advisors, the Biology Honors Chair, or the Biology Department Chair and Associate Chair to identify appropriate faculty members.

The research should be past the initial reading and discussion stage and into the actual experimental stage early in the semester prior to graduation.

Prior to the last semester, the full committee should be selected and be acquainted with the work being done. This provides the committee with opportunities to make suggestions about the investigations needed to complete the work.

A thesis should be in the hands of the committee no later than April 15 (for May graduates) or December 1 (for December graduates). Ask your thesis director read the first draft and make revisions on the basis of his or her suggestions before circulating a final version to the honors committee.

At least two weeks prior to the end of your last semester, you must defend your thesis before the committee. A general departmental announcement should be made about the defense, and other members of the faculty may attend after notifying the thesis director so that space can be made available. A desirable format is for the student to present an open departmental seminar about his or her work, followed immediately by a defense of the work before the thesis committee.

The candidate must advertise the defense. See Casey Green in Jordan Hall 142 to announce the defense.

Jordan Bissell, a biology advisor, must certify the successful defense of the Honor's thesis to the Recorder's Office a week prior to the end of the semester. Therefore, the student must submit one bound copy of the thesis, signed by all committee members, to him at the Advising Office (JH A115, 855-3810).

Formal application for an Honors degree

Once a faculty advisor has agreed to sponsor you for the honors program, you should register with the Department of Biology Honors Committee by contacting Jordan Bissell.