Successful completion of the Biology Honors program requires both Honors classes and undergraduate research under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative Texas A&M University GPA of 3.5 with a minimum of 3.25 in Honors classes. Students falling below these standards will be placed on probation for the next semester. Students unable to meet these standards for a second consecutive semester will be dismissed from Biology Honors. To count towards Biology Honors credit, Honors classes must be completed with a grade of A or B.
1. Required Honors Courses
Students wishing to graduate with Honors distinctions in either Biology (BIOL), Microbiology (MICR), Zoology (ZOOL), Molecular and Cellular Biology (BMCB), or Neuroscience (NRSC) must take 21 credit hours of Honors courses meeting the following minimum requirements in addition to those listed in their degree plans:
* The requirement for a freshman Honors course may be replaced with an additional Biology Honors course at the 300 or 400 level. This requirement can also be waived for students who receive a score of 5 on the Biology AP exam.
2. Required Honors Research
All Biology Honors students are expected to complete at least two semesters of undergraduate research for Honors credit. In reality, most students should anticipate spending more than two semesters to develop the necessary expertise to conduct productive research. Biology Honors students should therefore begin making plans to participate in research during their freshman year.
Honors students can begin research at any time they are ready, but a reasonable research timetable would be:
Freshman Year: Think about your interests and gather information on research opportunities. Peruse the Biology Department’s Undergraduate research webpage to learn about research opportunities and attend one of the undergraduate research workshops presented by Dr. Kathy Ryan, Biology Undergraduate Research Coordinator.
Sophomore Year: Meet with faculty and discuss potential research projects. Decide on a laboratory and initiate a research project. It is not necessary to take Honors credit for your first research semester. Many students use their first research semester to gain a firm idea of their project’s goals and methods, taking 491 Honors credit in subsequent semesters.
Junior Year: Conduct research under the mentorship of faculty, graduate students, and research staff.
Senior Year: Enroll in Biology 495H, Biology Capstone: Research Communication in the Life Sciences, in fall semester. Participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program if desired. Present the results of your research at Student Research Week in March, or the Ecological Integration Symposium, the Neuroscience Symposium, or at the Biology Undergraduate Research Poster Session in May.
Honors students must take at least 6 research credit hours for Honors credit (BIOL 491H). Honors credit cannot be added to research hours retroactively so it is important that you plan your research credit hours carefully. Be sure to follow the instructions for registering for Honors 491H credit, found on the 491H Page.