Honors in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Outstanding BCMB majors can participate in the BCMB Honors Program. This program involves extensive library work coupled with laboratory work on an original research problem. The student and the professor assume equal responsibility for developing the experimental approach used to investigate the problem and at the conclusion of the project, the student gives an oral presentation of the research results and writes a thesis. The results of the research are often published in a peer-reviewed journal. Students must declare their intent to pursue BCMB honors by filing the appropriate form with the Director of the Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by the end of the Drop/ Add period for the Fall Semester of their senior year. In light of this deadline, it is suggested that students declare their intent to pursue BCMB honors in April of their Junior year as they are considering registration for their senior year courses.

Core faculty in the BCMB Program are Boeshore (Bio), Carey (Bio), Lappas (Bio), Moe (Chem), Patton (Chem).  Typically, BCMB majors choose to perform research with one of these faculty members, but they can chose to work with any other faculty member in Biology or Chemistry. When appropriate, research collaborations with other disciplines (e.g., Math, Computer Science, Physics), the goal of which is the investigation of an application of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, are acceptable and encouraged.

Requirements for Honors in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

  1.  GPA - Overall – at least a 3.40 Major – at least a 3.40.
    The three decimal place GPA as found in degree audit must round to these numbers or higher. The major GPA is consistent with the college-wide requirement of 3.40 to obtain Cum Laude.  All courses with designations BCMB, BIO and CHM will be used to calculate the major GPA. Students shall not be allowed to continue their pursuit of honors if their GPA requirements are not met at end of the Fall semester of their senior year.

  2. Laboratory Research - Six credits minimum.
    The following courses may be used to meet this requirement:  BCMB 500, BIO 500, CHM 400, CHM 500, CHM 510. In the future, if a CHM 510 equivalent is created in Biology [i.e., BIO 510] this course will also meet the research requirement.

  3. Oral Presentation - An oral presentation of approximately 30 min is required.
    This presentation must be scheduled to occur no later than April 15th.  A requirement of CHM510 is an oral presentation to the Chemistry faculty. If this presentation is to be used for the Oral Presentation requirement for BCMB honors, there must be a simple majority of the BCMB faculty listed above (e.g., at least 3 out of 5 of the current faculty) in attendance to concur on their evaluation of the talk. Otherwise, a separate talk must be scheduled so that a simple majority of faculty members listed above can attend.

  4. Thesis Document
    • A thesis or summary document is required and should include the following sections:   Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Literature Cited. This format is consistent with that used by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. In that spirit, Results and Discussion may be combined into a single section. In either case, the last paragraph of the Discussion (or combined Results and Discussion) Section is to be a summary or conclusion statement of the work.
    • There is no set length for this document, but it should include a substantive literature review relevant to the project, details of all methods used and all data gathered (e.g., summarized in charts, tables or when appropriate pictures such as those of electrophoretic gels). The research advisor will provide primary guidance as to the organization of the document.
    • A second reader (chosen from the faculty above by the student and in addition to the research advisor) will be required to read and approve the document. 
    • The first draft of this document will be submitted to the research advisor by April 1st for review; the second reader will receive a revised copy no later than April 15th. Approval of this document by the research advisor and the second reader will occur no later than the last day of classes during the spring of the senior year.

  5. Professional Experience
    A student must (as first author) give a poster or oral presentation at a scientific meeting off-campus (the choice of which is at the discretion of their research advisor, but should be a professional meeting of known stature).

  6. Approval by a majority vote of the full-time faculty in the BCMB Program.