Disciplinary Honors Program in Biological Sciences

Program Director: Dr. Deanna Arble

The Disciplinary Honors Program in Biological Sciences focuses on experiential learning, either as independent laboratory research or an internship, and science communication. The program is open to students majoring in any of the majors offered by the department of Biological Sciences. Students majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology may choose to follow either the Biological Sciences or Chemistry Disciplinary Honors Program in consultation with their advisors. Graduation with Disciplinary Honors in Biological Sciences requires completion of the curricular requirements and to prepare a written report describing how they completed their disciplinary honors plan.

  • Curricular Requirements
  • Eligibility
  • Application

Recommended pre-requisite course work:

  • BIOL 1001H Honors General Biology 1
  • BIOL 1002H Honors General Biology 2
    or the associated BIOL 1001 and BIOL 1002 lecture sections for students who are not in the Core Honors Program
  • BIOL 1101 Foundations in Biology Inquiry


Students must complete two research experiences from the four options listed below and one of the listed seminars or graduate-level courses. Students may only do one honors internship for the disciplinary honors major, but the research requirement could be fulfilled by two terms of laboratory research in BIOL or another approved department.

At least one of the following three courses:

  • BIOL 4956H Honors Laboratory Research Project in Biological Sciences
    • CHEM 4956, or research in another A&S Department with prior approval from the Honors Director.
  • BIOL 3986H Honors Internship in Biological Sciences – Part time
    or 3987H Honors Internship in Biological Sciences – Full time
    • Credit would be received when students enroll in BIOL 4987
  • BIOL 9002H Honors Student Study/ Research placeholder in Biology
    Students could participate in a summer research program at another institution with prior approval from the Honors director.

An additional research experience might be selected from the courses below:

  • BIOL 4995    Independent Study in Biology
  • BIOL 4102    Experimental Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 4403    Tropical Ecology in Panama
  • BIOL 4802    Experimental Microbiology
  • BIOL 4956H Honors Laboratory Research Project in Biological Sciences

And one of the following seminar or graduate courses:

  • BIOL 4953 Seminar in Undergraduate Research (required for students enrolled in 4956H) – 1
  • BIOL 4931 Topics in Biology - 1
  • BISC 4851H Advanced Systems Neuroscience - 1
  • BISC 4151H Honors Advanced Pathology - 1
  • BISC 4214H Honors Advanced Biochemistry - 1
  • BISC 4341H Honors Advanced Cellular Genetics and Cancer -1
  • BISC 4146H Honors Physiology in Depth: Contemporary Issues -1
  • BIOL 6011 Advanced Concepts in Genetics and Cell Biology - 3
  • BIOL 6012 Advanced Concepts in Cell Biology and Biochemistry - 3
  • Similar seminar courses in MSCS, Physics, or other Arts and Sciences departments with prior approval)

Additional Requirements

  • Students must deliver a public presentation (talk/poster) describing the results/outcomes of their research or internship. Can be fulfilled by giving a public presentation based on work done in BIOL 4956, BIOL 4987, BIOL 9002, BIOL 4102, BIOL 4802, BIOL 4403, or BIOL 4995. The director will inform students of presentation opportunities and determine which presentations fulfill the requirements of the program.
  • Students must have a final cumulative GPA of a minimum 3.20 to graduate with Disciplinary Honors in Biological Sciences
  1. Overall cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher 
  2. Identified faculty mentor/intern sponsor for disciplinary honors work
    Note: you must get permission from the faculty member before submitting your application. 
  3. Written proposal - A written proposal is required for students applying for the BSCI disciplinary honors program. The proposal should identify the honors courses for which the student is planning to enroll and explain how these courses correspond to and will benefit them in their anticipated career. The program director evaluates applications and makes decisions regarding admissions to the program.

Students are encouraged to apply in the spring semester of their sophomore year, but applications will also be accepted from juniors in the fall term of the junior year.  Applications and questions can be directed to the disciplinary honors director, Dr. Deanna Arble.

Click here to apply for the Disciplinary Honors Program in Biological Sciences.