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HONORS IN THE MAJOR

The Department of Biological Science offers an Honors In The Major Program to encourage talented juniors and seniors to undertake independent, original research as a part of the undergraduate experience. The program helps some students to decide whether they enjoy the independent work required in graduate study. Successful Honors In The Major students find that the talents they develop are especially useful later in graduate and professional school and in their careers. Each Honors In The Major student works with faculty members of their choice on a two- or three-semester research project culminating in an Honors Thesis. A thesis is defined as a document that describes the scope, methodology, results, and conclusions of academic research. Honors In The Major students defend their finished thesis in a meeting with their selected faculty members and submit the final thesis or research project to the University Honors Program. Successful completion of the Honors Thesis results in the distinction of graduating "With Honors in Biological Science". This distinction is announced at graduation and on the student's permanent record.

Students who participate in Honors In The Major become members of the University Honors Program and are eligible for all program activities and other benefits. Honors In The Major students are also eligible, on a space-available basis, for honors-only liberal studies courses. Each term that an honors student is in the program, the student enrolls in BSC 4970r: Honors Work in Biological Science for 3 semester hours. To allow sufficient time to complete the scientific research and write the Honors Thesis, the course is repeatable to a maximum of 12 semester hours, 6 hours of which can be used to meet the 38-hour biological science coursework requirement.

Biological science majors who are interested in the Honors In The Major Program may apply if they have:

  • Completed at least 60, typically 75, college credits
  • Earned a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (GPA) on all course work (including transfer credits)
  • Earned a 3.2 GPA on at least twelve (12) semester hours of coursework at FSU.

General information on the Honors In The Major program or admittance criteria can be obtained by contacting the University Honors Program at A5400 University Center, 850-644-1841.

For specific information on applying to the Honors in the Biology Major program, biological sciences students are encouraged to contact Dr. Walter Tschinkel, Director of Honors In The Major for the Department of Biological Science (203 Bio Unit I; 850-644-4489). The following provides a summary of recent Honors In The Major research projects.

 

RECENT HONORS IN THE MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECTS

For more information about the program, visit http://honorsinthemajor.fsu.edu/

 

RESEARCH FACILITIES

Along with undergraduate teaching and graduate student training, research is strongly emphasized in the Department of Biological Science. The department is internationally noted for its research programs in both systematic and experimental biology. Fully equipped research laboratories are located in five buildings on campus (Conradi, Biological Science Unit I, Institute of Molecular Biophysics, Biomedical Research Building, and Nuclear Research Building). On-campus research facilities include the Electron Microscope Center (including one scanning electron microscope, three transmission microscopes, a quantitative fluorescence microscope, and a laser scanning confocal microscope). A recently installed Philips CM 300-FEG TEM is equipped for high-resolution cryomicroscopy of unstained protein molecules and protein crystals. Researchers also have access to radioisotope instrumentation laboratories, an X-ray laboratory, the Monoclonal Antibody Laboratory, the Analytical Laboratory, the Structural Biology Laboratory, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Special service facilities include the Histology Laboratory, special culture chambers, greenhouses, machine and electronics shops, animal housing, ultracentrifuges, cold laboratories, sterile laboratories, shielded electrophysiological laboratories, field vehicles, special instrumentation for biological photography, the Instrument Design Laboratory, and the facilities of the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute (SCRI). Significant research collections of microorganisms and of birds are also maintained on campus and the department supports a herbarium containing about 200,000 specimens. Off-campus research facilities include the FSU Marine Laboratory on the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mission Road Greenhouse. The privately endowed Tall Timbers Research Station is located just north of Tallahassee.

 

REQUIRED AND ELECTIVE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COURSES

  • Internship in Marine Biology: Students enrolled in the Certificate Program in Marine Biology are required to take BSC 4940 Internship in Marine Biology. This course provides advanced undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in research that deals with current problems in conservation and management. The intent is to have students immersed in the entire process of biological research: developing a question, properly stating and designing experiments to try to address the question, executing the experiment, analyzing experimental results, and, finally, interpreting, organizing, and presenting those results in both written and oral presentations. Some certificate students develop their research into an Honor's Thesis in the Major. Others have published their internship research or appeared as co-authors with their mentors on papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
     
  • Experimental Biology Lab: The Department of Biological Science has established a required research course entitled "Experimental Biology Lab" (BSC 3402L) to insure that every student will have completed at least one research project as a part of the baccalaureate degree in biological science. This required course does not follow traditional patterns of lecture and laboratory meetings. Each section of this course covers a different topic of research. The faculty member, schedule for conducting laboratory research, analysis of data, and associated lecture/conferences will vary for each section. For specifics in the frequency of meeting times, and the topic of research for each section, check the Schedule of Courses and/or the Undergraduate Advising Office (1067 King LSB). A more complete description of BSC 3402L is provided under Course Descriptions.
     
  • Directed Individual Study (DIS) and Research Methods Courses: Students with significant interest in research should consider taking either a Directed Individual Study (BSC 4900r) or Research Methods (BSC 4933r) course. Each of these elective courses provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates to perform research at the undergraduate level. In order to take a DIS or Research Methods course, students select a Biological Science faculty member with whom to design and perform a research project of mutual interest. Research under the direction of a faculty member in another department may be approved if the research content is appropriate and if a Department of Biological Science faculty member is willing to coordinate the project with the directing faculty member.

    To be eligible to participate in a DIS or Research Methods course, students must have:
     
    • Junior or senior standing as a Biological Science (major code 111110), Science Education (major code 220204), or Secondary Science and Mathematics Teaching (major code 111115) major; and

    • A minimum 3.0 biology GPA in all biological science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics courses that apply to the major.

    A student who is ineligible (see requirements above) to take a DIS or Research Methods course may obtain a waiver of eligibility requirements by submission of a written justification from the faculty sponsor. Sophomores especially interested in research are encouraged to seek a waiver. An eligibility form and additional information on DIS and Research Methods courses can be obtained from the Department of Biological Science Undergraduate Academic Advising Office located in 1067 King LSB. Both the DIS and Research Methods courses are repeatable and students may register for 1-4 credit hours per semester. A maximum of 6 hours of DIS or Research Methods coursework can be used to meet the 38-hour
    biological science coursework requirement.

 

INTERNSHIPS
Research internships may be available with state and federal agencies such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Internship listings and information are available at the Career Center, A4100 University Center (850-644-6431). "The Certificate Program in Marine Biology" provides opportunities for undergraduate research through internships for students interested in marine science.

An up-to-date list of undergraduate research opportunities, both within the department and elsewhere, is available at http://www.bio.fsu.edu/undergrad/researchops.php.