Students planning to graduate with Department Honors should please be aware of the following important deadlines:
Honors deadlines, forms, and information Available Here
If you are planning to graduate with Honors please contact the Department Honors chair immediately since it will take some time for you to complete and submit your Honors Registration form: Jeffrey.C.Cameron@colorado.edu
The prospectus submitted with your registration form should be hypothesis driven but need not be long - 1/2 to 1 page is adequate. Remember to present the key background information explaining the justification / impact of the project, the hypothesis you are addressing in your research, and the predictions you are testing. The timeline is mainly an exercise for you and your mentor to plan reasonable goals.
Due to COVID-19, we have added additional tracks for students to fulfill the requirements for Departmental Honors. Please see below for more information.
Departmental Honors in Biochemistry:
We encourage interested majors to participate in undergraduate Honors research, which is required for graduation with Honors from the Department of Biochemistry. The Honors program significantly enriches the undergraduate experience by providing the opportunity to carry out new research in collaboration with a faculty mentor, and to write and defend an honors thesis.
Interested students should identify a faculty mentor and begin Honors research during their freshman, sophomore or junior year, to enable sufficient time to complete a project prior to the final semester of the senior year, when the honors thesis is typically written and defended.
Please note the requirements for participation in the Honors program described in the attachment, including a GPA in the major of 3.3 or higher. Those students who complete and defend and Honors thesis will graduate with Latin Honors awarded at the departmental graduation ceremony, and also at a special College Honors Convocation during graduation week.
Interested students are encouraged to contact one of the Honors Co-Chairs listed above, and visit the Honors website.
Thesis Track I: Laboratory and Computational Research (Existing)
- This track is for students performing research in consultation with a research advisor. Research can be on-site (traditional lab-based) or remote (e.g. computational, modeling, bioinformatics, analysis of authentic data).
Thesis Track IIa: Laboratory and Computational Research (Provisional for Spring 2021 due to COVID-19)
- This track is for students who were performing research in consultation with a research advisor prior to campus closure due to COVID-19 in Spring 2020. Students who are not allowed back in the lab to finish their thesis projects can do remote work (e.g. computational, modeling, bioinformatics, analysis of authentic data). Students present and analyze their existing data and then finish the thesis in a thesis proposal format.
Thesis Track IIb: Literature Based Research (Provisional for Spring 2021 due to COVID-19)
- This track is for students who will be pursuing literature based research. Students will Identify a topic based on consultation with a research advisor.
- Thesis Registration for Spring 2021 graduation (Due October 6 at 4pm)
- Gather thesis committee comprised of 1) Thesis advisor, 2) Honors Representative, 3) Outside Member (different department; encourage English); 4) Additional Member
- Write Thesis Prospectus (Hypothesis-driven research statement, bibliography, and timeline). In this case, a literature-based research investigation on topic to generate a new hypothesis, new interpretation, or new insight based on current literature. The thesis could also include potential ways that new hypothesis could be experimentally tested (possible during follow-up studies by mentors or if labs open) or a historical perspective on the topic. Should be a significant, extended essay (35-50 pages, not including references cited) that could provide the basis of a publishable quality review paper or future experimental research.
- Thesis Registration for Spring 2021 graduation (Due October 6 at 4pm)
Departmental Honors are awarded to qualified undergraduate majors in recognition of scholarly achievement. To be eligible, a student must:
- Be a Biochemistry major with a cumulative grade point average in the major of at least 3.3, or obtain permission from the Departmental Honors Advisor.
- Complete a research project in biochemistry. This requirement is normally satisfied by taking 6 (or more) credit hours of independent study (BCHM 4901). With the approval of the Department Honors Advisor, a student may substitute an equivalent amount of research work done through the UROP or Hughes Initiative programs, or through other individual arrangements. Students may carry out their research with a faculty advisor from another department, so long as the work is biochemistry related. In exceptional circumstances, with prior approval, students may satisfy the requirements for advanced work with 3 credit hours of independent study and 3 credit hours in a formal, graduate level course.
- During the final semester of undergraduate study, submit a written thesis and make a formal oral presentation based on this research to a committee of three faculty members. The thesis is typically 25- 50 pages in length and provides experience with data analysis and interpretation. The oral presentation provides experience in scientific speaking and answering questions posed by a discerning, but friendly, committee. The committee normally includes the student’s research advisor, the Departmental Honors Advisor, and the one faculty from outside the Department of Biochemistry. The oral presentation, which is a University requirement for the granting of Departmental Honors, is arranged in consultation with the Honors Advisor.
The faculty committee for each candidate recommends the award of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, or in rare cases no honors. The recommendation if then considered by the Honors council of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the council votes upon the award of Honors for each candidate. The departmental recommendation is based upon the candidates GPA, research accomplishments, and written and oral presentations. A strong performance in one area can compensate for an average showing in another.
Cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.3. Satisfactory research paper and oral presentation.
Magna cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.5. A research paper describing publishable work and a good oral presentation reflecting general knowledge of biochemistry in addition to knowledge of the specialized areas.
Summa cum laude: GPA in the major greater than 3.8. A superior research paper and oral presentation describing publishable work of high quality. The oral presentation and paper should reflect considerable familiarity with the research area and also a general knowledge of biochemistry and its place in the modern world.
Only students completing an honor’s thesis in an experimental research lab with a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry are eligible to apply for the exemption.