Courses of Study 2011-2012 
    Jul 28, 2021  
Courses of Study 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Academic Options

In Biological Sciences .

Independent Research and Honors Program

Biology majors are encouraged to consider participating in individual research under the direction of a Cornell faculty member. Students interested in beginning research should contact faculty members who have compatible research interests. Information about faculty research interests and undergraduate research opportunities is available in the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall, and at

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 must enroll in BIOG 2990 , an S–U course designed to introduce students to research. After the first semester, students enroll in BIOG 4990 . Registration for both of these classes is done in the Office of Undergraduate Biology in 216 Stimson Hall. Students may work with faculty in any department on campus as long as the research topic is biological. 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 performance of an original research project under the direct guidance of a member of the Cornell faculty. 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 in the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall, or at To qualify for the program, students must have been accepted into the biological sciences major, 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.) In addition, candidates must find a Cornell faculty member to supervise their research. 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 participate in honors research seminars 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. 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