Research: Honors Program
Undergraduates are eligible to enter the CBMG Departmental Honors Program
beginning your second 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
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 Biological Science Specialization
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
students should submit an application to the Director of the CBMG Honors Program
at least one week before the beginning of the semester the student wishes to
enter the program.
The selection of students 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.
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
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 analyses 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
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.
Three semesters of Bsci378H are required.
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
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 beginning of your second semester in the
program. 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
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
first Saturday of November or April unless notified otherwise. You will be
expected to give a short verbal presentation on your research at this colloquium
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
Chemical & 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 Chemical & 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.