Honors in Biology are awarded to students who successfully complete two semesters of independent study and pass an oral examination given by a committee of faculty. (Refer to the College Catalog for additional information.) Copies of student research papers which have received Honors in Biology are included in the College Archives.
The following guidelines are Department of Biology policy regarding the award of Honors in Biology.
Students are nominated for honors by the faculty supervising their independent study project. This nomination must have the student's approval and it typically takes place between semesters of a two-semester independent study project. For each student nominated for honors, the faculty of the Department read and discuss the progress report and approve or disapprove the continuation of the project for honors within 14 days of the beginning of the second semester.
Honors defense committees are formed well in advance of the defense so that members have enough time to thoroughly read the final paper, which is due on the last day of classes. The defense is publicized and open to the public. Typically, honors defenses are held during Reading Days or Finals Week in the semester the independent study research is completed.
Committees should have 3-5 members in addition to the adviser.
At least one member must be from outside the Biology Department.
Honors candidates will defend their thesis before the examining committee during the period specified by the College. The Honors Defense involves an oral presentation and an oral defense of the research findings and their implications. Candidates for Honors in Biology will be examined on their thesis topic and are expected to be conversant with all aspects of their study very broadly defined. Honors is awarded for excellent quality work in the laboratory, for initiative and enterprise in the performance of research, for an excellent thesis and presentation, and for a significant understanding of the research results and their implications.
The defense procedure takes place in the following order (Exceptions may be made upon petition to the Department of Biology)