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Special Studies & Honors

Students can receive academic credit by completing a special studies or honors research project with a biochemistry faculty member or a biochemistry-related project with a faculty member outside the program (subject to approval).

Special Studies

Students who elect to do Special Studies can receive from one to five hours of course credit in a given semester for completion of an independent research project that is performed in a faculty member's lab. Culmination of the research is marked by a written report, usually in the form of a manuscript draft, a laboratory report or as a scientific poster. For some students, their research has formed the basis of a publication in a peer-reviewed journal or has been presented at a national meeting. Contact a faculty member directly to specifically discuss the opportunities.


Director: David Bickar

Students can choose to complete an Honors thesis during their senior year. An honors student receives 8 to 12 credits for completing a substantial research project in the laboratory of a faculty member.

A thesis is written by the student and she is also required to give a formal oral presentation of her honors research. In addition, a biochemistry student presents and discusses her thesis in a closed meeting with the program faculty. This oral examination includes a short presentation on the project, followed by a discussion of her thesis and related material with the biochemistry faculty.

In order to enter the honors program, a student must have a GPA of 3.3 in the major and GPA outside of the major of 3.0. Students may apply no earlier than the end of the second semester junior year and no later than the beginning of first semester senior year. Application guideline and forms are available on the Class Dean's Web site and should be submitted to the biochemistry honors director for approval by the program committee.

The final honors designation (highest honors, high honors, honors, pass or fail) will be based upon evaluation of the written thesis (50 percent), honors examination (20 percent) and the GPA in the major (30 percent).