compiled image of honors thesis projects, microscope image of a plant, two diagrams of a plant and a student examining a barn swallow's wing

EBIO wants you to graduate with Honors. There are two approaches to achieving honors if you are an EBIO major: Departmental Honors Thesis or a General Honors Thesis. The Departmental Honors Thesis involves focused research within EBIO while the General Thesis allows for a more interdisciplinary approach to research.

EBIO Departmental Honors Thesis

We encourage all EBIO majors who are hoping to graduate with a GPA of 3.3 or above to consider the departmental Honors thesis option. The departmental Honors thesis involves an extended research project under the guidance of a faculty member, writing an Honors thesis, and presenting your thesis results in an oral defense. We provide extensive guidance through this process; EBIO Honors students take a one-credit class (EBIO 4980) in the spring, where students give a practice defense and engage in collegial discussion and critique of each another’s projects. Students who have completed an EBIO Honors thesis report that this experience was the single most rewarding aspect of their academic experience at CU!  The thesis allows you to engage in your education in a unique and challenging way, paving the way for your development as an independent thinker. In addition, an Honors thesis is a highly valuable asset for entry into graduate programs or medical school, obtaining personal and insightful letters of recommendation from your thesis advisor and committee members, and making you stand out to future employers.

If you are interested in an Honors thesis, you should approach one or more faculty members whose research interests are compatible with your own. You should also contact the EBIO Honors Program directors, Drs. Barbara Demmig-Adams and Pieter Johnson, for more information about the EBIO Departmental Honors Thesis and to be accepted into the EBIO Honors program. In addition to being accepted into the EBIO Departmental Honors program, you will need to apply to CU’s Honors Program in the semester prior to your graduation semester (see the links below to CU’s Honors program). While most EBIO students conduct lab- or field-based research for the Departmental Honors thesis, some conduct an extensive literature-based review that must come to some novel scholarly insight. For various funding opportunities for undergraduate research, click on the links below.

General Honors Thesis

Another option taken by some students is the General Honors Thesis, which is a literature-based thesis that must span and integrate several disciplines. Graduation with General Honors requires having taken Honors courses in three different disciplines, a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and permission of the director of CU’s Honors Program (Dr. Janet Jacobs).  Please see the link below to CU’s Honors Program for further details.

Past honors students have considered the honors thesis highly rewarding and some of the most enjoyable work they participated in during their time at CU. Graduate programs, medical school, and many other programs or agencies frequently consider a research experience like the honors program as an indicator of future success that is more significant than high grades.

For help in getting started with the honors project, or for more information on Honors courses, contact your EBIO advisor or the EBIO Honors Coordinators Professor Barbara Demmig-Adams or Pieter Johnson. Additional information can be found through the following links:

Useful Links