Honors-in-Major: Biomedical Science

Student working in a fume hoodThe Honors-in-Major in Biomedical Science provides the opportunity for outstanding students to distinguish themselves by pursuing challenging classes and exciting research projects within their chosen subject area.  You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with the faculty, to explore your interests more deeply, and to develop skills that will be useful after graduation whether in the workplace, in graduate school, or in the professional world.  Honors status is indicated on your diploma and signifies academic excellence to future employers or admissions committees for post-graduate education.

  • Honors Liaison
  • General Requirements for Completing Honors-in-Major
  • Enrolling in the Honors-in-Major Program
  • Honors Coursework (8 to 12 credits)
  • Senior Honors Thesis Overview (BMS 799H; 4 to 8 credits)
    • The Written Thesis
    • The Public Presentation

Biomedical Science Honors Liaison

  • Dr. Aaron Margolin                                                               

General Requirements for Completing Honors-in-Major

    • Register with the University Honors Program using the on-line form.
    • Overall GPA of 3.40 or greater
    • Earned GPA of 3.40 or greater at time of graduation in all courses with the BMS science course prefix
    • A total of 16 credits of honors-designated work, which includes:
      • Approved Honors-designated courses (8-12 credits)
      • Senior Honors Thesis (4-8 credits, conducted over the equivalent of two semesters)
    • Note: You do not need to be in the University Honors Program in order to complete Honors-in-Major. For information on University Honors (typically started in the freshman year), go to https://www.unh.edu/honors-program/curriculum

    Enrolling in the Honors-in-Major Program:

    • Sophomore year is not too soon to begin exploring research areas that interest you, as well as talking with potential faculty who might mentor you in a Senior Honors Thesis.
        • Information about faculty research can be found at (https://colsa.unh.edu/mcbs/grad) or in individual faculty profiles found through the COLSA websites.

        • Your academic advisor can offer advice about selecting an Honors Thesis Advisor.
        • Projects performed off-campus should have an on-campus faculty liaison to supervise overall project compliance and to submit grades.
      • Before the end of your junior year:
        • Identify a faculty member who will serve as your Honors Thesis Advisor and obtain their permission to register for BMS 799H in the Department Office.
        • Contact the Honors Program Liaison for your major to declare your intent to carry out Honors-in-Major.
        • Discuss with your academic advisor or with the Honors Program Liaison the honors coursework you plan to take to fulfill the requirements of the program.
      • If feasible, consider beginning your thesis project in the summer before your senior year. Also consider applying to the Hamel Center for a SURF that would allow you to receive a stipend to conduct nine weeks of full-time research.
      • Early in fall semester of your senior year, complete the Student-Thesis Student/Sponsor Agreement and submit the form to the Honors Program Liaison.

      Honors Coursework (8 to 12 credits)

      • Students must take one of the following courses with an Honors designation as one of the requirements to complete the Honors-in-Major requirements.  
        • BMS 602 - Pathogenic Microbiology
        • BMS 650 - Molecular Diagnostics
        • BMS 702 - Endocrinology
        • BMS 704 - Pathologic Basis of Disease
        • BMS 705 - Immunology
        • BMS 706 - Virology
        • BMS 718 - Mammalian Physiology
        • BMS 720 - Mycology, Parasitology, Virology
        • BMS 795 - Investigations (maximum of 4 credits can be applied towards honor-in-major coursework)
        • Any other 600- or 700-level courses in Biomedical Science or closely related fields that are on the Biomedical Science Checklist for the option that the student is participating in can also be used to satisfy the requirement for 8-12 credits of Honors coursework. 
        • To designate a course as Honors, complete the Honors Designation Form in consultation with the course instructor.
        • In combination no more than 8 total credits of BMS 795 Investigations and BMS 799H Honors Senior Thesis may be used to fulfill the Honors-in-Major requirements.

        Senior Honors Thesis Overview (BMS 799H; 4 to 8 credits)

        • Research/scholarship is normally conducted over a period of two consecutive semesters, during which the student enrolls each semester for 1-4 credits of BMS 799H.
          • Expect to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours per week on the project for each credit-hour.
        • Within the first month of commencing the senior honors thesis, a thesis project proposal is written.
        • The thesis proposal is reviewed and approved by the Thesis Advisor and a copy sent to the Honors Liaison.
        • Students are encouraged to seek funding for their thesis research project by submitting a proposal to the Hamel Center. Hamel Center proposal deadlines are usually about 3-4 weeks into each semester.
          • Students cannot receive payment for work for which they will receive course credit, but can receive financial assistance for expenses related to the conduct of the research project.
          • During the academic year, students may apply to the Hamel Center for an Honors Thesis Grant, which provides funds to help pay for expenses associated with the thesis. 
        • At the end of the first semester, an “IA” grade will be submitted for BMS 799H, indicating that the work is still in progress. The final grade will be reported at the end of second semester for all earned BMS 799H credits.
        • The final product consists of a written thesis and a public presentation of the work accomplished.

        The Written Thesis

        • Length: 20-40 double-spaced pages.
        • Components of the written thesis usually include: Abstract, Introduction/Background/Literature Review, Statement of Hypothesis, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References Cited.
        • Writing the Senior Honors Thesis is an iterative process that involves writing a draft of the thesis, having the document reviewed by your Thesis Advisor, and incorporating their comments into a revised version.  Two or three iterations of the writing process are typical before the final version is completed.
        • Two paper copies of the Thesis must be submitted to the student's Thesis Advisor for grading no later than the last reading day of the semester (before finals commence).  One copy will be returned to the student with comments and a final grade; a duplicate of the graded copy is sent to the Honors Liaison. The second copy is retained by the Thesis Advisor.

        The Public Presentation

        • The public presentation should be modeled on presentations typically given at scientific conferences or meetings of professional societies.
        • A poster presentation or PowerPoint slide presentation are both acceptable formats.
        • Presenting at the COLSA Undergraduate Research Conference or University URC is encouraged. A departmental seminar, classroom setting, or an off-campus scientific conference are also acceptable public settings for your presentation.