Undergraduate Research

Honors in Biological Sciences - Research Thesis

Application Research Proposal Instructions Honors in Biological Sciences Faculty Advisor Verification Form

Application Deadline

The Honors in Biological Sciences - Research Thesis applications are only accepted once per year and students begin during the fall semester. Applicants selected for an interview, will be asked to deliver their presentation prior to receiving an offer of acceptance. Presentations are always scheduled the week before the fall semester begins. Please note that you must be logged in to your FAU account to access the online application.

  • Fall - July 28th

Program Description

The Honors in Biological Sciences - Research Thesis provides undergraduate biology students who have completed at least one semester of Directed Independent Research (DIR) credits recognition of their research accomplishments. Students usually begin the program in their junior year while conducting independent, supervised research. A written paper and a seminar describing the results of their honors 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 need help finding a finding a research mentor should consider taking BSC 3453 Introduction to Biological Research offered in spring semesters. Students who successfully fulfill all requirements associated with the Honors in Biological Sciences - Research Thesis Pathway 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.

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

Applications are due July 28th. Presentations are always scheduled the week before the fall semester begins. All applicants will receive an email to schedule the day/time of their presentation. Please see the FAU Academic Calendar for specific dates.

1.   Must be a major in the following: BA/BS Biology, Neuroscience & Behavior

2.   Minimum 3.2 GPA at time of application and graduation

3.   Minimum 20 credits in Biology coursework that must include the following:

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

4.   Minimum one semester of Directed Independent Research (DIR) credits

5.   Recommendation Letter from a Biology Faculty Member (not the research mentor)

6.   Resume

7.   Application Letter

8.   Unofficial Transcript

9.   Completed Application Form

10. Written Research Proposal

11. 10-minute Oral Presentation

12. Confirmed Biological Sciences Faculty Mentor (signed Honors in Biological Sciences Faculty Advisor Verification Form)

Program Requirements

1. 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.

2. BSC 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 and/or help in identifying a research mentor, please contact:

Dr. Evelyn Frazier

Honors Research Thesis Pathway Administrator

University Instructor, Department of Biological Sciences