Honors

The Honors Program at Occidental College is designed to allow the superior student’s attention to be focused on a directed investigation for a sustained period of time.

Honors in Biology 

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Requirements

  • Student typically will have worked on a research project for 2 semesters (or 1 semester + summer session) minimum, before applying for honors

  • Student must have an average GPA of 3.25 (college policy)

Application Process

  • Students should discuss with their research mentor and submit an official Letter of Intent to the Biology Chairperson by the first week of their senior year, or sooner.

  • The letter of intent should include a summary of research results (realized and projected), as well as significance of the research and any projects in progress at the time of submission.

  • Applications will be evaluated by the Biology faculty.

  • Students nominated for honors will be notified by the Biology Chairperson.

Completion Process

  • At the time of nomination, each candidate will be assigned an honors thesis committee of two Biology faculty members, in addition to their faculty mentor. This committee will be available for guidance and to help ensure that milestones are met in a timely manner.

  • Milestones will include a thorough literature review, written drafts of the introduction, methods, and results sections, including draft figures, and a final discussion section, as well as preparation of a public seminar.

  • The candidate must complete a written thesis of their work. It is expected that the student will spend part of their final semester or directed research writing the thesis.

  • The written thesis will be due to the mentor by Monday in the 3rd week of February.

  • The revised honors thesis will be due to the committee by Monday in the 2nd week of March.

  • The thesis will be reviewed by committee and returned to the student by Monday the 4th week of March, and final revisions must be submitted by the first week of April.

  • Honors candidates will also give a presentation on their research to be scheduled on or about April 15. These presentations will last approximaley 25 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions. 

  • Honors grades are Pass/Fail and reported to the registrar by the Chair.  The chair will inform the students of their grade when it is decided upon by the committee.