Biology Honors Program

The Department of Biological Sciences encourages eligible students to develop an Honors research project working with an individual faculty member. A Biology Faculty Advisor will serve as a research mentor throughout the process, but the student is responsible for the design, data collection, analysis, and writing required to complete and communicate the results of the project. Students must understand that faculty can more readily advise Honors projects that integrate with their existing research interests. The Honors project can assist students wishing to pursue admission to competitive graduate and professional programs in biological sciences. Along with letters of recommendation, solid grade point average and Graduate Record Exam scores, participating in research is an important criterion such programs use to select students.

Requirements for Admission to the Program:

  • 3.25 minimum grade point average
  • completion of at least 45 credit hours
  • completion of Biological Science I and II (BI 1110 and BI 1120 or their equivalents) and at least one 3000/4000 level Biology course that involves a research project, or approval of the faculty sponsor
  • availability and support of a Faculty Advisor
  • submission of an Honors Application to the Department of Biological Sciences. The Application consists of a research proposal that is developed with the guidance and approval of a Faculty Advisor and contains a literature review, hypotheses, methods (including a budget), and references (formatted according to discipline-specific standards) • approval of the Honors Application by the Biological Sciences faculty.

Completing the Program:

  • completion of four credits of Senior Research (BI 4200) or Undergraduate Research (BI 4950)
  • presentation of the research findings
  • submission of a final paper (in discipline-specific format) to the Department of Biological Sciences by May 1 of the year Honors distinction is sought
  • presentation of the results at an appropriate scientific conference or seminar series, either at PSU or in the New England region
  • overall approval of both the final paper and the presentation from the Biological Science faculty
  • maintenance of a 3.25 minimum grade point average.