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Honors Program
Honors Thesis Policy
undergradaute students working at lab benches

To maintain a consistent and high standard for the honors thesis, the writing of an honors thesis and the work that contributes to it will adhere to the following policy:

1. Honors students are expected to base the writing of the thesis on a body of substantial laboratory research. Only under exceptional circumstances and with the advance approval of the Department Head will a literature-based thesis be deemed acceptable.
 

2. Any Schreyer Scholar engaged in thesis research with a BMB Department faculty member or BMMB graduate faculty member is eligible for receiving their honors degree from the BMB Department. Schreyer Scholars meeting this criterion but who are not majors in BMB, BIOTC or MICRB will be assigned a BMB Honors Advisor.
 

3. Schreyer Scholars can also choose to do research with someone other than a BMB Department faculty member or BMMB graduate faculty member. However, a Scholar must seek approval of the project prior to the start of the thesis research. Only faculty members located at the University Park campus will be considered eligible mentors. Research not administered under the guidance of faculty located on the University Park campus will not be considered for approval. To obtain approval for a project, the Schreyer Scholar must submit a petition to the BMB departmental office that contains the following:

  • A statement from the Schreyer Scholar that describes how the proposed thesis research will use molecular approaches to address a biological problem.
  • A statement from the faculty mentoring the project that briefly outlines the project. The faculty mentor will perform duties expected of a BMB thesis advisor as described in this policy.

The BMB honors advisor will serve as the representative of the BMB department and will ensure that the final thesis meets the standard sufficient to warrant receiving honors in BMB.
 

4. Progress reports on thesis research must be turned in each semester to 107 Althouse Lab. It is the responsibility of the Scholar to:

  • Secure the form from the Department office (107 Althouse) or from the Undergraduate Form Center
  • Complete the top part of the progress report
  • Deliver it to the thesis advisor for approval
  • Return the form to 107 Althouse by the last day of class for the semester. The Department office will monitor all scholars enrolled in BMB 496 to ensure that each has turned in a progress report. Following office notation, a copy of the progress report will be forwarded to the BMB/BIOTC/MICRB Honors Advisor for inclusion in the student's file. A progress report is not required for the semester in which the thesis is submitted.
     

5. In cases where the Thesis Advisor is also the Honors Advisor, the student must obtain another Honors Advisor to serve in evaluating the thesis.
 

6. In order to focus their thinking and complete the literature search in a timely fashion, students are strongly encouraged to prepare a draft of the thesis introduction at least three months before the final submission date. This should be submitted only to the thesis advisor for approval.
 

7. A rough draft of the thesis must be submitted to the Department office by the Monday of week 10 of the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. The thesis draft must be accompanied by a Thesis Draft Evaluation form, which should be obtained from the Department office.  The evaluation form must have an evaluation of the draft by the thesis advisor before it is submitted.  The thesis and evaluation form will be forwarded to the BMB Honors Advisor for review, who will then provide an evaluation of the thesis. No signatures are required for the rough draft. Students will contact their honors adviser 1 week after submission to recover the draft and comments.
 

8. The final draft of the thesis with signatures of approval from the thesis and the honors advisor must be submitted to 107 Althouse at least one week before Schreyer's final thesis submission deadline. Office personnel will make a photocopy of the thesis when all signatures have been affixed and notify the Scholar to come pick up his/her original copy so that he/she can electronically submit.
 

9. Deadlines established by the Department are rigorously enforced. Deadlines for the thesis itself, as well as for the various forms/reports of the program, are established to encourage timely progress on the research project. The exact deadlines for each semester will be provided by the Department office. The following summarizes when these deadlines occur:

  • 4 weeks before the Honors thesis submission deadline: Submit thesis draft and Thesis Draft Evaluation form to the department office. The Evaluation form should have the thesis advisor's approval.
  • 3 weeks before the Honors thesis submission deadline: Student should retrieve the thesis and comments from the Honors advisor, complete the writing of the thesis and return the final draft to the Honors Advisor for the Honors Advisor's final approval.
  • 2 weeks before the Honors thesis submission deadline: Submit to 107 Althouse the final thesis with signatures from the Thesis Advisor and the Honors Advisor.
  • Before the Schreyer honors thesis deadline: Submit to the Scholars office the final thesis with all necessary signatures.
     

10. BMB, BIOTC and MICRB majors who choose not to receive honors in the BMB Department are not bound by this policy. Such students are advised to become familiar with the relevant policies established by the external department.
 

11. Students working on an honors thesis are expected to adhere to the guidelines for selecting a Thesis Advisor as outlined in the Policy for arranging 496 - independent research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
 

12. In order for the student to receive an honors degree from the BMB Department, the thesis must be deemed acceptable. A thesis will be deemed unacceptable when either the Thesis Advisor or Honors Advisor fails to approve the thesis.  In this case, the student can choose to:

  • A. graduate without honors.

          or

  • B. defer graduating with honors until the deficiency is rectified. This could involve rewriting the thesis or continuing laboratory work beyond the end of the semester. If the thesis is then approved, graduation with honors would occur at the end of the following semester.