Honors and Biology

Receiving Honors in Biology Courses

The Department of Biology offers two options for honors course work in the major:

  • Take a regular advanced biology course (2000-level or above) with honors credit, or
  • Take 5014W with a faculty research adviser (Independent Honors Research).

Honors Credit for Regular Courses

  • This is to be arranged by the course instructor together with the student at the start of the semester.
  • To be eligible for honors credit (that is, a grade with Honors) in a regular course, the student must do the following: (a) receive approval from the course instructor by the fourth week of the semester; (b) complete all course requirements; (c) receive an A or B in the course, where the assigned letter grade reflects performance in the regular course work submitted by the student; and (d) complete an additional assignment (to be determined by the instructor) above and beyond the standard course requirements
  • Then, the honors notation, H, is added only if the instructor determines that the additional work, as described in (d) above, is of honors quality

Faculty Mentorship

As a first step in pursuing honors research, review the research areas of Biology Department faculty, and then contact a faculty member whose research fits your interests. When seeking a faculty research adviser, students should have a conversation about their preparation for research (e.g., strong grades and other relevant course work, research interests, etc.).

Honors Course

BIOL 5014W Honors Laboratory Research in Biology, writing intensive. The pre-requisites for this course are BIOL 5014Wl ENG 1012; and BIOL 1001, BIOL 1002, BIOL 5001, and any two advanced biology courses with grades of B or better, and permission of the sponsoring faculty member and department chair.

To register for this course, complete the BIOL 5014W registration form (pdf) and submit it to the Biology Office by e-mailing Jasodra Sunita Badri and Simone Smith.

Graduating With Departmental Honors in Biology

Eligibility Requirements for Graduating with Departmental Honors in Biology

1. Declared major in biology,

2. Maintenance of a GPA with an average of 3.50 or higher in biology courses. It is expected that students awarded with departmental honors in biology will graduate with a GPA of 3.50 or higher in all biology courses. However, students typically apply for departmental honors during their final semester of enrollment in course work at Brooklyn College, and the department must approve or decline applications while the last semester is in session before a final GPA is available. Expected GPA is estimated from all previously completed advanced biology courses noted in the applicant’s official transcript and does not include any current courses taken in the final semester. Students may provide additional information indicating that they expect to meet this GPA requirement.

3. Completion of BIOL 5014W under the supervision of a Biology Department faculty member, culminating in a written honors thesis. The thesis is a written report reflecting a substantial amount of scholarly work on the part of the student. The suggested minimum requirement for a thesis is 5,000 words, not including a title page, abstract, and references. Students work with their faculty adviser to determine the most appropriate format for their thesis. The two most common formats are an undergraduate honors thesis or a scientific-style research paper. Each are described below.

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Format

We follow the CUNY guidelines for thesis format:

  • 1″ margins, single-spaced text, 12-point font
  • Title Page
  • Dedication Page (optional)
  • Acknowledgments Page
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract Page
  • Major Sections/Chapters (5,000–8,000 words), including:
    • Introduction
    • Additional Chapters
    • General Discussion
  • Appendices
  • References (minimum of 20 peer-reviewed articles)

Scientific-Style Research Paper Format

A thesis written in APA format should contain, at minimum, the following four sections:

  • Title Page (one page)
  • Abstract (one page)
  • Main text: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion (5,000–8,000  words)
  • References (minimum of 20 peer-reviewed references)

4. A submitted “Graduating With Departmental Honors in Biology” application (see below).

Application Submission and Processing

Students must complete and submit an electronic copy of application using this link, which will take you to BC WebCentral, where you should sign in with your BC WebCentral credentials.

The application will be reviewed by the department deputy chair for advising, who will make recommendations regarding award of a degree with “Departmental Honors in Biology,” subject to final approval by the college. The department will make every attempt to provide feedback to applicants in a timely manner. For example, if a student submits a written report that is determined not to meet a standard for departmental honors, then the student will be advised of necessary changes that must be incorporated before final grades are due. As a general rule, the more lead time a student gives the department to review materials, the easier it is to provide feedback that can be used to improve application materials.

All students will be notified of the final outcome of their application for honors. Students deemed eligible will receive the graduating with departmental honors notation, “Departmental Honors in Biology,” in the notes section of the transcript, not on the diploma.

Any questions should be e-mailed to the deputy chair for advising.

Brooklyn. All in.