Departmental Honors

The Department of Biological Sciences has its own Honors Program! Students are invited to the program if they qualify based on their number of credits (at least 30; 15 for transfer students) and GPA (at least 3.6). Students majoring in any Biological Sciences concentration, Genetics, Microbiology, or Zoology can participate in the program. The program involves honors coursework (at least 8 credits) and a research project (3 research courses, thesis, presentation).


Students must also complete at least 8 credit hours of honors level courses. Courses must be 300-level or higher and related to biological sciences. Here is a list of preapproved courses, but others may qualify.

  • There are three types of honors courses:
    • Seated Course
      • The course is labeled as honors in MyPack when the student enrolls in it.
    • Faculty Initiated Honors Project
      • The instructor presents the honors requirements to interested students and sends a contract with the names and IDs of the students to the University Honors Program.
      • A contract must be submitted to the University Honors Program using their forms.
    • Student Initiated Honors Project
      • The student and instructor agree on a project and the student completes the paperwork and sends it to the University Honors Program.
      • A contract must be submitted to the University Honors Program using their forms.
  • Students who receive honors credit for a class will have a statement underneath that class on their transcript that they met the Honors requirements for that class.


Students in the program must complete three research classes: BSC 497, BSC 498, and BSC 499.

  • In BSC 497 and 498, students need to find a research mentor and develop a project. The research project must have a biological focus, but could center on teaching, service, or outreach rather than more traditional biological research. Here is the contract to enroll in those courses.
    • Summer experiences can be used to complete one of these classes. Talk to your advisor about how to best enroll in the class if this is your situation.
  • Students will write a research proposal in BSC 497, and complete a draft of their thesis during BSC 498.
  • After completing BSC 498, students will take BSC 499, where they will work on their presentation skills and finish writing their thesis. They will also present their scholarly work at a local, regional, or national symposium or conference.
  • Talk to your academic advisor about how these courses can be used to fulfill Major requirements.

How to Find a Research Mentor

  • Reach out to faculty directly
    • Students should review faculty websites to see what type of research different faculty do. If a student finds something of interest, they should reach out to that faculty member!
    • Students can also talk to faculty in their courses about research opportunities. Maybe that faculty member has mentioned what they research during class. Even if that faculty member has no upcoming opportunities, they may be able to connect students to other faculty who do.
    • When approaching faculty, students should mention that they are in the BioSci Honors Program.
  • Check out the Experiential Learning page
    • There are tons of resources here to find opportunities both at State and elsewhere. This can be a great way to connect to someone and have it turn into a research project for BSC 497/498.


Questions? Contact Dr. Brian Langerhans at