Undergraduate Research

Honors in Biological Sciences- Research Thesis

Application Research Proposal Instructions

Program Description

The Honors in Biological Sciences- Research Thesis provides undergraduate biology students an opportunity to apply knowledge obtained across prior biology courses and recognizes the research accomplishments of these talented individuals. Students usually begin the program in their junior year and conduct independent, supervised research during their junior and senior years. A written paper and a seminar describing the results of their research are required in the senior year. Interested students should contact a Biological Sciences Department faculty member whose research interests are closest to those the student wishes to pursue. Students who successfully fulfill all requirements associated with the Honors in Biological Sciences- Research Thesis and have an overall GPA of 3.2 or greater at the time of degree conferral will receive the designation of "Honors in Biological Sciences - Research Thesis" on their transcripts. 

In order to participate in the Research Thesis Pathway, students apply and are accepted to the Introduction to Biological Research Program, which is a two-course series (spring-summer) that facilitates the matching of students to faculty mentors by promoting seminars, training students in ethics and intellectual property of ideas, providing laboratory research experience, and both written and public presentation skills. After successful completion, students apply to the Honors in Biological Sciences Research Thesis Pathway, where they continue their laboratory research under the supervision of a faculty mentor and write a final thesis manuscript and present their experimental results at a departmental seminar. If you are interested please apply by July 28th by submitting the application form. 

Areas of Research

FAU’s Department of Biological Sciences houses research labs working on a wide spectrum of organisms, from fruit flies and worms to turtles and sharks. Areas of interest include environmental science, neuroscience, biomedical science, marine science, organismal biology, cellular/molecular biology, developmental biology, conservation biology, ecology, physiology, animal behavior and morphology/evolution. Students can study how organisms communicate, pick their mates, move and migrate, how animals and plants interact and evolve, molecular mechanisms behind why organisms sleep and age, the genetics behind how animals think and behave, and many more topics. Much of the research is done through partnerships with agencies and organizations in South Florida, such as the Center for Environmental Studies, the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Everglades National Park, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Scripps Research Institute of Florida, and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. These partnerships provide students with an extraordinary combination of facilities, state of the art equipment, and training and research opportunities in a number of research areas. 

Student participants in the Biological Sciences Honors in the Major Program must obtain appropriate laboratory safety training prior to initiating research. All students must obtain three key training sessions: Laboratory Safety Training, Biological Safety Training, and Hazardous Waste Awareness and Handling. Students may also require additional training specific to the research project. Students must confer with their confirmed Biological Sciences faculty mentor to identify appropriate training and register for training through Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at the link above. Students participating in research labs within the affiliated institutions mentioned above must obtain site-specific EH&S training through the institution in which they are conducting their research. Students who will work on projects supported by National Institutes of Health and/or National Science Foundation funding must also complete Responsible Conduct of Research Basic Training through CITI Program.

Eligibility Requirements

Application package is due July 28th

1.  Minimum 20 credits in Biology coursework

2.  Minimum GPA 3.2

3.  Core Course Requirements:

  • Biodiversity + Lab
  • Biological Principles + Lab
  • General Chemistry + Lab (I & II)

4.  Resume

5.  Unofficial Transcript

6.  Statement of Purpose

7.  Completed Application Form

8.  Two Letters of Recommendation:

  • Faculty Mentor/Sponsor
  • Another Faculty Member

9.  10-minute Oral Presentation

10. Written Research Proposal

Program Requirements

1. Completion of the Introduction to Biological Research Program: 

  • BSC 3453 Introduction to Biological Research (1 credit) during which accepted students are introduced to research in biological fields, matched with a faculty mentor, and oral presentations on their research topics. If students obtain a grade of “B” or better they will be invited to enroll for the second course in the series. 
  • BSC 3481 Biological Research Writing (2 credits) during which invited students write and present a Research Proposal on their research project to the class. This is NOT an Honors-level course.  

2. BSC 4917 Honors Research (3 credits) during which students conduct supervised independent research in the laboratory of their faculty mentor.  Must earn an "A" to receive                Biology Honors Distinction.

3. BSV 4918 Honors Thesis (3 credits) during which students provide a final thesis manuscript and seminar presentation/defense of experimental results at a departmental seminar.      Must earn an "A" to receive Biology Honors Distinction.

Program Contact:

For general information on the Biological Sciences Honors Research Thesis Pathway, please contact:

Dr. Evelyn Frazier

Honors Research Thesis Pathway Administrator

Senior Instructor, Department of Biological Sciences