Honors-in-Major: Genetics

virologyatDHMCThe Honors-in-Major in Genetics 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 (GEN 799H; 4 to 8 credits)
    • The Written Thesis
    • The Public Presentation
    • Certificate of Completion

Genetics Honors Liaison

  • Dr. Estelle Hrabak                                                          

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 in all courses with the GEN course prefix at time of graduation
  • Complete 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/honors-major

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 colsa.unh.edu/mcbs/grad  or in individual faculty profiles found in each academic program in COLSA.
    • Your academic advisor can also 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 GEN 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.
    • Register as an Honors in Major student on the Honors web site.
  • 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 Advisor Contract and submit the form to the Honors Program Liaison.

Honors Coursework (8 to 12 credits)

  • One of the following Honors-designated courses must be taken as partial fulfillment of the course credit requirements for Honors-in-Major: 
    • GEN 704 Genetics of Prokaryotic Microbes
    • GEN 705 Population & Quantitative Genetics
    • GEN 712 Introduction to Perl Programming for Bioinformative
    • GEN 713 Microbial Ecology & Evolution
    • GEN 715 Molecular Evolution
    • GEN 717 Molecular Microbiology
  • Other Honors-designated courses offered at the 600- or 700-level that are listed on the Genetics Advising Checklist can also be used to partially satisfy the total credit requirement (i.e., Honors coursework plus Senior Thesis must total at least 16 credits).
  • No more than 8 total credits of GEN 795 Investigations and GEN 799H Honors Senior Thesis may be used to fulfill Honors-in-Major requirements.
  • Other 600- or 700-level courses that do not have an Honors designation but which are listed on the Genetic Advising Checklist can be designated as Honors by completion of the Honors Designation Form in consultation with the course instructor.

Senior Honors Thesis Overview (GEN 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 GEN 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 for Undergraduate Research.  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 GEN 799H, indicating that the work is still in progress. The final grade will be reported at the end of second semester for all earned GEN 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.
  • Upload your thesis to the UNH Scholars' Repository.

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.

Certification of Completion