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Honors Program

The Program in Biological Sciences confers Honors to a select set of graduating seniors, based partly on grades within the major, but more particularly on the quality of research and writing evidenced in formal Senior Theses.

Requirements to Receive Program Honors:

Due Dates for Honors Project/Materials:

I. Important Steps Towards Honors:

The Faculty Supervisor’s responsibilities are to provide:

The student bears responsibility for conducting the research and writing the Thesis. Data collected by others may not be used in the Thesis. Data that will appear in another person's Masters or Doctoral Thesis may not be used, nor data that will appear in papers without the student as a co-author.

II.  Application for Honors

The student is expected to have done considerable organizing and writing by the beginning of Winter Quarter. By January 16th, serious though initial versions of these Thesis sections must be provided as Word documents to the instructor of: BIOL_SCI 345.

The Instructor of 345 and the Research Supervisor independently provide suggestions for improvement in the ensuing weeks.

III. Writing the Senior Thesis

The completed Thesis consists of the following sections:

Examples of successful Senior Theses can be found here and here.

IV. Submission of the Thesis and Recommendation Letter

The Thesis needs to be largely completed by the beginning of Spring Quarter, and submitted to the Supervisor for any comment then. A final version of the Senior Thesis in PDF format is sent by the student electronically to the Honors Coordinator by the April Due Date. A recommendation letter from the Faculty Supervisor must be received by the Honors Coordinator by that same date.

V. Review by Honors Committees

An independent Reader is assigned to each Thesis. When the PBS Curricular and Honors Board meets, letters from the Supervisor and the Reader are considered, along with the Thesis itself. For Program Honors, there must also be a 3.30 or greater average in Biological Sciences courses. After discussion, the Board votes with regard to whether Program Honors should be recommended to the Honors Committee of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. It also votes with regard to winners of specific Research Prizes. The Honors Committee of Weinberg College makes the final decisions about granting Honors.

VI. Special Thesis-Based Prizes

There is also an annual competition for four special prizes based solely on the quality of the Senior Theses and the research they represent. Participation in this competition is not contingent upon participation in the Honors program.

The prizes are named after prominent past faculty:


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