In Biological Sciences .
Independent Research and Honors Program
Biology majors are encouraged to consider conducting research under the direction of a Cornell faculty member. Students interested in beginning research should contact faculty members who have compatible research interests. Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall or go to biology.cornell.edu/index.php/oub-research to learn more about faculty research projects and undergraduate research opportunities.
Faculty members may consider the student’s previous academic accomplishments, interests and career goals, and the availability of space and equipment when agreeing to supervise a student in their laboratory. Students conducting research for the first time enroll in BIOG 2990 , an S–U course designed to introduce students to research. After the first semester, students may enroll in BIOG 4990 . Registration for both of these classes is done online through the Office of Undergraduate Biology. Students may work with faculty in any department on campus as long as the research topic is biological in nature. Students may not earn credit for research done off campus, unless supervised by a Cornell faculty member. Up to 3 credits of research may be used to complete the concentration in general biology, genetics and development, as well as 4 credits in neurobiology and behavior and systematic and biotic diversity.
The honors program in biological sciences is designed to offer advanced training in life science research through the completion of an original research project under the direct guidance of a member of the Cornell faculty who acts as their honors supervisor. Biology majors planning on graduating with honors must apply to the Biology Honors Program in the spring of their junior year. Applications and information are available at biology.cornell.edu/index.php/honors-program. To qualify for the program, Arts & Sciences students must have been accepted into the biological sciences major. CALS students from other majors may apply as long as there is significant biological content in the research. Students must have completed at least 30 credits at Cornell and have a cumulative Cornell grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0. In addition, students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative Cornell GPA in all biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics courses. Grades earned in courses in other departments that are used to fulfill biology major requirements are included in this computation. An honors candidate usually enrolls for credit in BIOG 4990 - Independent Undergraduate Research in Biology under the direction of the faculty member acting as honors supervisor, although the honors program does not require enrollment for credit. Students accepted into the honors program are required to attend honors meetings during their senior year; submit an acceptable honors thesis; complete all major requirements; and maintain a 3.0 Cornell cumulative and science GPA through graduation; and give a public presentation of their research. Recommendation to the faculty that a candidate graduate with honors and at what level of honors is the responsibility of the Honors Program Committee. The student’s final GPA and quality of his or her thesis are factors in determining the level of honors recommended.
Students interested in the honors program are strongly encouraged to begin their research projects in their junior year and to consider spending the following summer at Cornell engaged in full-time research on their honors project.
Biology majors who are considering study abroad and graduating with honors are encouraged to meet with their academic and research advisor during their sophomore year to carefully plan their academic schedule to meet the requirements of the honors program.
Application forms, requirements, deadline dates for the honors program, and information pertaining to faculty research may be obtained at the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall, and at biology.cornell.edu/index.php/honors-program.