Program Requirements

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Degree Requirements

In order to graduate with Honors in Biology or Honors in Biomedical Sciences, students are required to:

  1. fulfill the regular requirements for a Biology B.S. or B.A. degree.

  2. maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.33, both overall and in the biology major (includes all biology courses as well as cognates in chemistry, physics, biochemistry, mathematics, and statistics) taken at UI.

  3. complete a minimum of 6 semester hours of BIOL:4999 Honors Investigations. This requirement is intended to be fulfilled over 2 or more consecutive semesters. One semester hour is generally equivalent to 3-5 hrs/wk in the lab in the Fall and Spring semesters, and 6-10 hrs/wk in the 8 week Summer session. Biology honors students normally perform their honors research in the laboratory of a Department of Biology faculty member. For Biomedical Sciences students that want to pursue research projects outside the department, the student must submit a prospectus on the research plan to the Director of the Biomedical Science program (Prof. Bryant McAllister).

  4. write a brief research proposal (not exceeding 5-6 double-spaced pages) summarizing the background, goals and significance of the honors research that is to be undertaken. This proposal should be approved by the research supervisor and then placed on file with the Department of Biology Honors Advisor approximately 2 months after beginning laboratory research. Students who are not ready to write a Biology Honors research proposal within the first semester of research for academic credit should register for BIOL:3994 or volunteer until the semester when ready to prepare the proposal.

  5. write an honors thesis upon completion of research. This thesis should have the general format of a scientific paper and should be printed double-spaced. The text of the thesis, which does not include the tables, figures or references, will ordinarily range from 15-30 pages. After its approval by the research supervisor, the thesis should be submitted to the Biology Honors Advisor. The Advisor will review the thesis to ensure compliance with the prescribed format.
  6. give a brief oral presentation of their research findings to other biology honors students as part of a colloquium.
  7. Complete  BIOL:4898 Communicating Research.This one semester hour course offered Fall and Spring semesters will help you through the mechanics of writing either your honors research proposal or thesis and presenting your research at the Biology Honors Colloquium. An example course syllabus is attached. You can take this course at any time during your progress towards a Biology Honors degree.  Some students find it helpful when they are just starting out while others find it helpful when they are finishing up their research.
  8. Complete 2 semester hours in either BIOL:4998 Honors Seminar in Biology or an advanced-level biology seminar course.  This course can be taken at any time during your progress towards a Biology Honors degree.

Requirement Notes

At first glance, getting a Biology Honors degree appears to add at least 8 s.h. to the traditional Biology degree (e.g. 2 s.h. for BIOL:4998 and a minimum of 6 s.h. for BIOL:4999). However, as shown in the table below, there are several options for "double-counting" (where Honors requirements count towards Biology major requirements).

How to "double-count" towards Biology Honors degree
Degree BIOL:4999 BIOL:4998
Biology B.A. 6 s.h. satisfy Biology Elective
with Lab requirement
2 s.h. satisfy Biology Elective
Biology B.S. 6 s.h. satisfy Experiential Lab

In addition, Honors in Biology will satisfy requirements for a University Honors degree Level Two: Learning by Doing – 12 semester hours or equivalent in honors experiences.

For further information or answers to any questions you may have, consult either:
Dr. Lori Adams, Department of Biology Honors Advisor (Phone: 335-1322; Email:
Anna Gaw, Biology Undergraduate Advisor (Phone: 353-2484;