REQUIREMENTS and DEADLINES for HONORS in the Biological Sciences


The path to Honors in the Biological Sciences begins with a faculty-mentored research project. The project is typically carried out for credit for at least two semesters via (BIOL 1950/1960 or the equivalent) plus a summer, winter break, or elective semester. This time commitment will be necessary to complete work of the caliber expected for a thesis. Typically, this work will encompass the senior year. For projects being used as the Health & Human Biology Capstone, the project MUST encompass the senior year. More about Honors in Health and Human Biology, here.

• The Honors application form is here.

• The BIOL 1950/1960 project proposal form is here; more information about research projects is here.


THE ROLE of the COMMITTEE: Thesis Advisor
and Second Reader

• The Thesis Advisor is the primary investigator who will mentor the project, and who will be available to the student in guiding, discussing results and interpreting outcomes. The Thesis Advisor is expected to be a Brown faculty member, usually but not always, from the Division of Biology and Medicine. The student should confer with the Thesis Advisor to formulate the project plan. This plan will be the basis for BIOL 1950/1960 credit and can be embellished for the Honors application.

• The Second Reader will be a faculty member or associated scientist who is identified by the student and thesis advisor as an appropriate to review the work. The Reader will evaluate the thesis, and provide an evaluation of the work. Second Readers should be acquainted with the field of research described by the project, and be willing and able to provide  input and critique that will challenge and strengthen the thesis. The Second Reader should be at the doctoral level, from Brown (but there are exceptions), and not from the same laboratory or research group where the project originates.

1. THESIS: A thesis is a substantial paper, usually ranging from 65-85 pages, that reflects the final analysis of the proposed research project, in standard science reporting format, from historical background through methods, results and conclusions. An abstract should be included.

• More information at Thesis FAQs.

• There is a library of past sample Honors theses located at the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education, Room 124, 91 Waterman Street, Arnold Lab.  Students may browse the library resources when the office is open during business hours.

2. ORAL PRESENTATION: To be fulfilled by either one of these two options near the conclusion of the thesis project:

• More information about the Presentation: FAQs | Oral -or- Poster?

If the Seminar format is chosen, the student will make arrangements for scheduling, room and invitations. For the Poster option, Biology Undergraduate Research Poster Day is held annually in April. Honors candidates will be invited to participate. The cost of poster printing is the responsibility of the student.

2014 Annual Biological Sciences Research Poster Day
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
1:00-3:00 PM - Alumnae Hall

3. QUALITY GRADES in the concentration within the concentration, quality grades are required. The computed average is expected to be 3.4 or above. For cases where the average is 3.0- <3.4, candidacy may nonetheless be recommended by the concentration Advisor and Thesis Advisor, subject to approval by the Associate Dean of Biology Undergraduate Education.

4. EVALUATION: Following review of the thesis and the oral, Committee will complete an Honors evaluation. Honors is expected to be recommended if the work is assessed as Satisfactory or better, with all stipulations, deadlines and grade requirements met.  The Honors evaluation form will be provided directly to the Committee and must be submitted complete no later than May 1.

Extensions: Extensions of final deadlines may be made if there are truly extenuating circumstances, and only via appeal to the Associate Dean of Biology Undergraduate Education.

5. DEADLINE DATES for the HONORS Program in the Biological Sciences:

Includes Biology | Health and Human Biology | Biophysics | Marine Biology

_____DATES & DEADLINES at a Glance_____________________________________________________

> Deadline for submitting completed, signed Honors application to the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education:

• May graduate:  extended to Friday, January 31 or earlier if specified by the Thesis Advisor
• December graduate:  Labor Day or earlier if specified by the Thesis Advisor
• Health and Human Biology concentrators: Mid-September of the 7th semester

> Deadline for selection of Second Reader:

• May graduate:  February 15
• December graduate:  September 30
• Health and Human Biology concentrators: at the time of submitting the Honors application

> Thesis must be submitted to the Committee:

• May graduate:  April 25
• December graduate:  Friday after Thanksgiving Break

> Oral seminar -OR- Research Poster Day presentation arranged on or before:

• May graduate:  April 30
• December graduate:  Mid December

> Completed Honors Evaluation is submitted to the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education by the Thesis Advisor and Second Reader:

• May graduate:  May 1
• December graduate:  December 21



1. Committee = Thesis Advisor and Second Reader
2. Dates listed refer to the student's senior year.
3. Honors evaluation forms are sent directly to the Committee from the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education.