Honors Program in Biology

The Biology department offers an honors program for students who wish to gain hands-on experience in scientific research. To successfully complete the program students must have the commitment and desire to complete an independent project, write up their results as a thesis, and present their work to their peers.  Students who successfully complete the program will graduate with Honors in Biology.

When can you get started?

  • Upon completion of 60 hours, a student may request to pursue recognition in the Honors in the Major program. To be eligible, a student must have at least a 3.25 grade point average overall, a 3.50 in at least 12 hours of courses required by the major, and have support from the department.
  •  Enterprising students often start working in a lab in their freshman or sophomore year to gain experience and research ideas, but they work on a formal Honors project in their junior and/or senior year.

How do I get started?

  • First, talk to your advisor or professors in Biology or look at various faculty research pages on the web to see what research areas interest you.
  • After identifying a research mentor, identify a research project.
  • Then work on your research project under the direction of Biology faculty at UCA or other suitable research sites. For example, students may also complete their Honors research under the direction of biologists outside the biology department (e.g. faculty at U. Arkansas Medical School); however, these students must be sponsored by a member of the UCA Biology faculty. Click here for more details.
  • Talk to your research mentor to plan your program following the timeline and expectations for completion.

Other forms you will need:

Honors in the Majors/Thesis Release Form

Biology Thesis Cover Page

Honors College vs. Honors in Biology: What is the difference?

Students who graduate with Honors in Biology receive the same recognition as students who graduate with Honors through the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College.   A student may choose to complete an Honors College thesis which is a project mentored by a faculty member not in the Biology department or a Biology thesis.  A student may also choose to complete two theses, an Honors College thesis and an Honors in Biology thesis. Honors College students should discuss possible projects with both their Honors College and Biology advisors.

Benefits for the student:

The Honors in Biology program allows students to develop their own project and to become intimately involved in the process of science.  Completing a thesis is demanding, but the experience can be extremely rewarding.  Students gain experience planning and developing a project; they develop technical skills in the lab or field, learn how to read scientific literature and often how to write grant proposals, and they gain invaluable experience communicating their results with oral and written reports.  Students who complete theses are more competitive at gaining admission to quality graduate and professional programs and are better prepared to succeed in these programs.  Employers are also generally impressed by students who have the initiative to complete independent research.  Finally, some students have the satisfaction of publishing their results and thus contributing to the scientific enterprise by enhancing our knowledge of the world around us.

Contact Dr. Brent Hill (bhill@uca.edu) for questions about UCA Honors Program in Biology.