Honors Programs & Senior Theses
U of L offers honors at the university and departmental levels. I am the Biology Honors Director and serve as the liason between the department and university honors programs.
University vs Biology Honors
The university honors program and Biology department honors are not directly related. In order to qualify for Biology department honors, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.0, a Biology course GPA of 3.5, and must successfully complete and defend an approved senior honors thesis. Any biology major who qualifies for university honors (based on GPA) and also successfully completes a senior honors thesis on a biological topic will qualify for departmental honors.
Research & Course Credit
While we certainly encourage students to complete an honors thesis, note that any student can do research regardless of participation in an honors program or completion of a thesis. Course credit is available (usually Biol 404, 405, or 406-WR) for up to 3 credit hours per semester for a total of 6 credit hours applied toward a Biology degree. Students often sign up for 406-WR the semester they complete a thesis. Students must make arrangements with Biology faculty to sign up for course credit, even if working in a lab outside of Biology. Students can also work for pay or volunteer in a laboratory without signing up for course credit.
Why do research?
The benefits of doing research as an undergraduate include:
- linking knowledge from courses with the real world
- exploring potential career choices
- developing relationships with future reference letter writers; they know you better than typically possible from just taking a course
- direct experience to improve problem solving and critical thinking skills
More information is available at these sites:
- Biology Department Honors (website)
- University Senior Honors Thesis guidelines (website)
- Biology Department Senior Honors Thesis Proposal (pdf)
Use this form only if you do not qualify for completing a thesis for university honors (GPA > 3.65). It must be turned in to me by the deadlines for university honors (see their website above) and be accompanied by a 3-5 page thesis proposal that has been read and approved by your research mentor. Go to the university thesis link above for the university honors form.