Welcome to the Biological Sciences Department Honors in Research Program
The Department of Biological Sciences seeks to provide a unique research experience to students who have a passion for research. In addition to the essential elements of the Biological Sciences degree, the program provides an opportunity for independent research in a diverse environment.
Students who maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 in select courses in the major can earn Departmental Honors by completing the following curriculum in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences.
The Honors Curriculum consists of a minimum of seven credits:
- BIOL 499: Independent Research
– 2 semesters (a minimum total of 4 credits)
- BIOL 497H: Honors Thesis and Capstone Course*
– 1 semester (3 credits, graded)
*Students may substitute BIOL 497H with one additional semester of BIOL 499 (minimum 2 credits) plus BIOL 499L (1 credit, graded). Please see the Honors FAQ for more information.
- Biological Sciences majors who will have completed the following courses, or acceptable equivalents thereof, with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of graduation are eligible for the Departmental Honors Program.
- BIOL 141
- BIOL 142
- BIOL 302
- BIOL 303
- BIOL 300L
- CHEM 101
- CHEM 102
- CHEM 102L
- CHEM 351
- CHEM 351L
- MATH 151 (or MATH 155 for BA degrees)
- STAT 350
- PHYS 111 (or 121)
- PHYS 112 (or 122)
- Admission to the Honors College is not required for Departmental Honors.
- Applications for Departmental Honors must be received at least 12 weeks prior to the expected graduation date. You can find the link to apply in the yellow highlighted box at the bottom of the page.
Note: This is not a complete list of requirements. See the Biological Sciences Departmental Honors in Research Requirements and Procedures for a full listing of requirements for this program.
Two semesters of BIOL 499
Two semesters of undergraduate research provides exposure to problem solving, planning, and executing experiments directed toward the research goals of a faculty mentor. An honors student will complete a minimum of 4 credits of undergraduate research, which is equivalent to two semesters of laboratory work averaging 12 hours per week.
Honors Thesis and Capstone Course, BIOL 497H
The Capstone of the Biology Honors Program extends the student’s research experience with their faculty mentor for a third semester and additionally requires 1) seminar attendance, 2) an honors thesis, and 3) a formal presentation.
Attending a minimum of 12 scientific seminars introduces each honors student to the various ways in which scientists present their work and to the diversity of research areas presented in departmental and campus-wide scientific seminars. To further develop their written skills, each student will be expected to write short abstracts of 6 of these seminars.
The culmination of the research project will be a thesis to be written in the form of a research journal article. The student’s research mentor will provide guidance and advice regarding the writing of the honors thesis. Upon completion, the thesis will be evaluated and graded by the mentor and Honors Coordinator.
In addition, the results of the project will be presented in the form of an oral presentation and/or poster presentation to be given at one or more of public forums such as a scientific meeting, UMBC’s annual spring Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day, the Department’s spring GABS symposium, UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest, or the fall Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences.
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