A. Criteria for Honors
The BCMB faculty will award honors to a BCMB major based on the entirety of the candidate’s BCMB program. This includes grades in all courses required for the major (and related additional courses in Biology and/or Chemistry) and successful completion of a two semester (or summer and one semester) research experience. A minimum GPA of 3.20 is required in courses counting towards the BCMB major, including transfer (and study abroad) courses that receive BCMB credit. The Honors research project should be distinguished by the originality and definition of the research problem, the sophistication of the experimental design and its execution, and the analysis and presentation (written and oral) of the results. Generally, Honors reports should be of publishable or near-publishable quality. The Honors Committee will consider all these factors in its recommendation to the Program faculty, and the Program faculty should be cognizant of all these factors when voting on Honors.
B. Procedures for Honors
- By the date of Roll Call during the Fall semester of Senior year, a student should indicate their intent to pursue Honors to both their research mentor and the BCMB Chair. The BCMB Chair will form a Committee of the research mentor (who will serve as Chair of the Honors Committee), a BCMB faculty member from Biology, and a BCMB faculty member from Chemistry.
- By noon on Monday of the penultimate week of Fall semester classes (typically, the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving), the student will submit a Research Proposal to the Committee. This Proposal should include a first draft of the Introduction section of the final paper (to help establish an understanding of relevant background of the project), outline the main goals of the student’s work in the laboratory, describe what research results have been completed to date, and indicate a plan for experiments to be conducted during the Spring semester.
- Prior to the end of Fall semester finals, the Committee Chair will convene a Committee meeting. The Committee will review the student’s BCMB coursework to verify the candidate is eligible to proceed, and will review the student’s Research Proposal to discuss its merit and feasibility, and to identify problems or questions that need to be addressed. The Committee will vote as to whether or not the student is to be accepted as an Honors candidate and then will notify the BCMB Program Chair.
- By the end of Fall term, the Program Chair will notify the student in writing of the Committee’s decision. If the student has been accepted as a candidate for Honors, the Program Chair will advise the student that the final decision on the granting of Honors will depend on the Honors research project, the remainder of the student’s coursework, and the quality of the final paper and oral presentation.
- By the end of the first week of Spring term, dates will be set for receipt of first draft and a final draft of the project paper for oral presentation and defense; the Program Chair will notify the student of these dates via e-mail, with a copy of the e-mail to be sent to the Honors Committee. In order to provide time for the Committee to read the paper, the student to give the oral presentation, the Committee to meet with the student, and the student to make final corrections to the paper prior to the deadline for submission of Senior awards and prizes, the paper must be submitted to the Committee by 5pm on the Friday of the 12th week of Spring term classes. The oral presentation will be scheduled during the penultimate (13th) week of the Spring term. The candidate will meet with the Honors Committee no later than the last day of Spring term classes. A final version of the paper must be submitted by 5pm Wednesday during Exam Week. The Honors Committee must make their recommendation for or against Honors to the Program faculty by 9am on the Monday prior to Commencement.
- During the course of the Spring term, the faculty research advisor should alert the Honors Committee to any problems that arise during the course of the work.
- By the deadline noted above (section 5), the student’s Honors paper should be written in a manner that conforms to the style of an appropriate journal. The student should prepare an oral presentation lasting for approximately 25 minutes (during the presentation, approximately 5 minutes will be allowed for questions from the audience). All BCMB faculty are required to attend the oral presentation; students will be invited to attend.
- The student and Honors Committee can meet immediately following the oral presentation, or by the end of Spring term classes (as noted above in section 5); here, the student will defend the project. Based on the quality of the oral presentation, written paper, and defense, the Committee will make a decision on whether or not to recommend Honors.
- The Committee will submit its recommendation to the BCMB Program Chair, who will convene the BCMB faculty for a final vote prior to deadline for submission of senior awards and prizes to the Registrar (as described in section 5).