The object of the Honors Program of the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics is to encourage and recognize superior scholarship by providing an opportunity for interested, capable, and energetic undergraduates to engage in independent study that results in an Honor's thesis. The research project to be conducted under the close supervision of a faculty mentor.
Additional copies of this application may be obtained
from the CBMG Undergraduate Office. (1219 H. J. Patterson)
1. Undergraduates are eligible to enter the CBMG Departmental Honors Program beginning your second year. Acceptance into the program is not possible after the first semester of your third year.
2. To be considered for admission into the program, you must have
an overall cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 in the courses
required for the Biological Sciences major. Transfer students with
equivalent academic records at other accredited institutions are eligible.
Admission will not be based on grades alone, but also upon evidence of
maturity and interest that indicates that you are likely to successfully
complete the program requirements. It is not required that students are
majoring in any particular Biology Specialization Area.
3. A faculty mentor must have been identified and be willing to sponsor the project before an application will be reviewed. The mentor will generally be a CBMG faculty member or a scientist working closely with a CBMG faculty member and the project should be of a nature related to cell biology, molecular genetics or microbiology. If you are not certain whether a particular faculty member or project qualifies, please contact the Director of the CBMG Honors Program. If you are not certain with whom you want to work, you may obtain descriptions of the research interests of all CBMG faculty from the CBMG Office (Rm 1119 Microbiology Building) or you can access faculty research interests using a web browser at: www.life.umd.edu.
4. Interested students should submit an application to the Director
of the CBMG Honors Program at least one month before the beginning of the
semester the student wishes to enter the program. The selection of
for the Honors Program is the responsibility of the Director of the CBMG
Honors Program, who will consider the past performance of the student,
the student's interests and prospects for success in the program.
Plan of Study/Description of Program
The CBMG Departmental Honors Program is highly research oriented. The objective of the program is to provide honors students with an opportunity to gain an appreciation for the research process. This is viewed as including:
1) Identifying a research problem.
Your research problem may originate with your mentor, but student contributions are strongly encouraged.
2) Appreciating the background information related to the research problem.
Background information may be acquired through reading relevant literature as advised by your mentor, discussion with your mentor or by enrolling in individual Special Problems courses such as BSCI 379G.
3) Developing a Hypothesis.
A predictive statement summarizing one's understanding of the system under study in a way that permits testing of the correctness of that understanding.
4) Learning the methods and acquiring the data.
Experimental methods that are appropriate and likely to yield data necessary for testing your hypothesis are to be selected or developed. Observations or experiments are to be executed by the student using good scientific practices.
5) Analyzing and interpreting data.
Graphic and statistical analysis of the data are completed in a manner
appropriate for testing the stated hypothesis. The data and results of
the analysis are then interpreted and conclusions drawn. This in turn may
lead to alternative hypotheses.
Requirements of the Program
1. Students must enroll in Honors Research for at least three semesters. A minimum of six credit hours of BSCI379H is required. Summer research experiences may be substituted for one or more of the semesters. A total of three credit hours of Honors research (BSCI379H) will apply toward the Microbiology or CMBG Advanced Course Requirements as a lecture course. The remaining credits may count as Upper Level CORE credit requirements (CORE credit is received only if student completes the Honors program and defends a thesis).
You should be enrolled in BSCI379H (1-3 credits/semester) during each semester you are carrying out some aspect of the research process described above. As a general rule, 3-4 hours of research time/week = one credit hour. Be sure to specify your mentor's individual section number when registering for this course. If your mentor is not a CBMG faculty member then see the Program Director for the correct section number.
2. Students must enroll in Honors Seminar (BSCI378H) each regular semester after admission to the program. This is a 1-hour seminar in which Honors students meet regularly to discuss their progress and/or make research presentations to their peers.
3. Students must pass at least seven credits of CBMG -related lecture/laboratory courses and obtain a grade of B or better. Course work must be from the approved upper level courses required for CMBG, PBIO or MICB specialization areas of the Biological Sciences Program. Research opportunity courses are not applicable to this requirement.
4. A research proposal that has been approved and signed by the mentor must be submitted to the Director of the CBMG Honors Program. A research proposal is due by the end of your second semester in the program or the first semester of your junior year, whichever comes first. This proposal should be developed in consultation with your mentor. A set of guidelines is available from the Director of the CBMG Honors Program upon request.
5. An approved Honors thesis. An Honors Thesis must be submitted and approved by a CBMG Honors Program Committee composed of your mentor and at least two other CBMG faculty members. Approval of the thesis will require an oral defense as described below. The thesis should be written in standard thesis format. Guidelines for writing the thesis are available from the Program Director upon request. Four copies of your Honors thesis must be submitted to the Honors Program Director by Nov. 1 for graduation in the Fall semester or by April 1 for graduation in the Spring semester unless notified otherwise.
6. An oral defense of the Honors thesis. A Honors Research Colloquium will be held the second Saturday of November or April unless notified otherwise. You will be expected to give a short oral presentation at this colloquium on your research followed by questions from the examiners on the research topic and other relevant areas. The examiners will evaluate the student's performance in the defense, the student's written thesis, and the student's overall level of research performance. If the student successfully passes the defense, the examiners will then recommend that the student graduate with Honors or High Honors. In general, the "High Honors" is reserved for exceptional students who have presented research at national meetings and/or coauthored a paper for publication and demonstrated superior performance in all aspects of the program. The student's diploma will read (example): Bachelor of Science, College of Life Sciences, "Honors in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics" or "High Honors in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics."
Students may receive Honors in more than one department but the program
requirements of both departments must be met, the student must have prior
approval from the CBMG Program Director, and theses completed for each
Honors program must be unique, i.e., the same project may not be used to
meet the requirements of two Honors programs.
Privileges for Honors Students
1. You may be granted the right to use academic facilities ordinarily only available to graduate students or staff.
2. You may take, with permission of the instructor and the Director of the CBMG Honors Program, graduate courses and receive undergraduate credit for them.
3. You may take any University Honors Program course (including many 300-level courses that may fulfill advanced studies requirements) or any Honors version courses in any department (departmental approval required in some cases).
4. You are invited and encouraged to attend weekly departmental seminars: The CBMG Seminar is held at 12:00PM Fridays in 2242 H. J. Patterson; the Molecular and Cell Biology Seminar takes place at 12:00PM Wednesdays in 1208 BIOPSYCH. The times and location of these seminars may be subject to change.
5. You may use your BSCI379H credits to satisfy one of the CORE Advanced Studies requirements contingent upon the successful completion of all the Honors program requirements.
6. Honors students who are making demonstrable progress in their research
are eligible to apply for any scholarships that may be available from the
General Honors Program, from the College of Life Sciences, or the Office
of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland.
Withdrawal from the Program
An Honors student may be advised or required to withdraw from the program
if his/her course achievement and progress in the Program suggest to the
Director of the CBMG Honors Program and/or research mentor that withdrawal
is desirable. Ordinarily a student will be advised or required to withdraw
if his/her cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0. If the student
withdraws before defending an Honors thesis, the credits accumulated from
participation in Honors Research BSCI379H (formally MICB379), can not be
counted toward satisfying the requirements of the Biological Sciences degree.
Students will not be able to use his or her Honors research credits to
satisfy the CORE Advanced Studies requirement. Half of the credits earned
from participation in BSCI378H (formally MICB388H) may be counted toward
satisfying the requirements for the major.