Biology majors with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 at the end of the January term of the junior year (or with permission of the department) are eligible to apply for the Biology Honors Research Program.  Interested students should contact a faculty sponsor to discuss a project in the spring of the junior year.

Honors in Biology requires the completion of two courses, BI483 in the fall and BI484 in the spring.  A minimum of seven credit hours and a maximum of nine credit hours must be completed.  The upper limit of credits for one semester is four.  JanPlan enrollment is not required but is encouraged.

A successful Honors Program involves the following components:

  1. conducting a long-term project of original research
  2. writing an Honors Thesis
  3. defense of the thesis before the Honors Committee (the faculty sponsor and the two readers)
  4. public  presentation of the results at the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium in early May

Application Procedure

During your junior year, you will need to find a biology faculty member who is able to sponsor your honors research project. Two additional faculty members should be asked to serve as readers. When registering for your senior fall classes during the spring registration period, register for BI483. By the end of spring registration, submit an application (as a single file) electronically to the chair of the biology department. The application should contain the following:

1. a title page including your name, the title of the proposed research project, the name of the faculty sponsor, and the names of the two faculty readers
2. a brief one-page summary of the relevant background, question or hypothesis, and proposed research plan
3. a brief resume outlining your educational and research experience
4. a copy of your complete Colby academic record (an electronic copy of this may be captured from the registrar’s web site).

Honors program applications will be reviewed by the department and you will be informed as to the approval of your application before the final exam period.

Completion of the Honors Program

Completion of the Honors Program requires meeting the following deadlines.

1. Interim report. This report will consist of a one-page summary of results and progress to date.  In addition, you should include an annotated bibliography of the ten most appropriate articles from the primary literature that you have found.  The annotation for each article should consist of two or three sentences describing the relationship between the results of the article and your results.  This report must be submitted to your faculty sponsor as an electronic Word document prior to the last week of fall classes.

Your report will be considered by the Biology Department at the end of the fall semester.  If sufficient progress has been made, you will be approved to register for BI484 and to continue in the Honors Program.  If insufficient progress has been made, your academic credits will be converted to BI491 (Independent Research) and you will be dropped from the Honors Program.

2. Before the beginning of the spring semester, you will hold a committee meeting with your readers and mentor, in which you will present your progress and discuss your plans.

3. A well-written draft of the first two sections (Introduction and Materials & Methods) of your thesis must be submitted to your faculty sponsor before spring recess.

4. Your revised thesis (complete with all sections included) must be submitted to your faculty sponsor and thesis committee on the Friday two weeks prior to the last day of spring semester classes.

5. Oral defense of your thesis before your Honors Committee must be completed during the last two weeks of classes

6. Oral presentation of your research will take place at the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS), which occurs the Thursday before the last week of spring classes.

7. Your final thesis is due by the last scheduled day of final exams