Undergraduate Research

Honors in Biological Sciences- Research


Program Description

The Honors in Biological Sciences- Research 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. Submission of an internal grant application or production of an external grant application no later than the second semester of the junior year OR presentation of a poster or seminar at a local, regional, national or international research conference/symposium describing the results of the research is 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 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" on their transcripts. 

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

1. Minimum 20 credits in Biology coursework

2. Minimum GPA 3.2

3. Core Course Requirement

  • Biodiversity + Lab (requires a "B" or better)
  • Biological Principles + Lab (requires a "B" or better)
  • General Chemistry + Lab (I & II)

4. Unofficial Transcript 

5. Completed Application Form

6. Confirmed Biological Sciences Faculty Mentor

Program Requirements

1. Minimum of two semesters (1 year commitment) enrolled in BSC 4910 Directed Independent Research (0-3 credits) with a confirmed faculty mentor.

2. Production/submission of a grant proposal (internal or external) no later than the spring semester of the junior year AND Presentation of a poster or seminar at a local, regional, national or international research conference/symposium in the senior year.

3. Signed (by the faculty mentor) copies of the following documentation must be submitted to the Honors Research Committee in Biology via designated staff member no later than three weeks in advance of the intended graduation date:

  • Grant proposal with documented evidence of submission (if relevant)
  • PDF version of the presented poster or seminar slides with documented evidence of conference/symposium participation

Program Contact:

For general information on the Biological Sciences Honors Program and/or help in identifying a research mentor, please contact:

Mrs. Sharon Ellis

Honors Program Assistant, Biological Sciences Department

561-297-0387 or sellis13@fau.edu