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Honors in Biology

Honors in Biology Program

Current Honors in Biology Program

An honors program in this department requires at least six hours of biological research credit or its equivalent, an overall GPA of 3.5, a biology GPA of 3.7, and a combined Biology + supporting courses GPA of 3.5.  

The research requirement can be met by:

  1. six credits in BIOL 495,
  2. a research experience off campus* or in another Wheaton College Department* or as a Summer Researcher at Wheaton, or
  3. a combination of (1) and (2).

In any case, communication of results in a publishable paper (in preparation, in review, or in press) or communication of results at a scientific meeting [National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA), or any professional society meeting)] or an equivalent professional accomplishment as determined by the Department of Biology is also required.

*Approval of those research experiences not performed in the Biology Department must be granted by the department prior to the experience in order to receive BIOL 495 credit or for inclusion of the experience as a consideration for honors.

New Biology Department Honors Program Relevant for Class of 2020 and Beyond

To apply for Departmental Honors, Wheaton College requires a student to have an overall GPA of 3.5 at the time of applying.  Any student wishing to participate in the Biology Department Honors Program must submit an application by the third Friday of February of their junior year.   Decisions on acceptance to the program will be made and announced by Spring Break. 

A student wishing to apply to the Honors Program must meet the following criteria:

  1. completion of or current enrollment in BIOL 252;
  2. an overall GPA of 3.5 at the time of applying for Honors in their junior year;
  3. in position to have a 3.7 GPA in the major (including supporting courses) at the time of graduation;
  4. two semesters of research with a Wheaton professor or one summer (on-campus or off-campus) and one semester of research with a Wheaton professor.  It is acceptable for students to be conducting their second semester of research at the time of applying. The applicant must include a statement (i.e. a letter or email) from their research supervisor(s) that corroborates the past research experience(s);
  5. a written commitment from a Wheaton College Biology professor to supervise the Honors research on a project that has tangible outcomes; and
  6. a research proposal, approved by the supervising professor, that includes a literature review and a detailed description of the questions and methodologies, as well as a reasonable timeline to conduct the study.

Students accepted to the Biology Department Honors Program must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. successful completion of BIOL 499 Biology Honors Research and Seminar (2 credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters of their senior year.  This course will require research conducted with a Wheaton Biology professor, attendance at weekly class sessions, and presentations. 
  2. a written thesis evaluated in the Spring semester by the Honors student’s supervising professor and a second reader (also a biology faculty member);
  3. an oral defense of their research as well as their general knowledge of biology; and
  4. an overall GPA of 3.5 and a 3.7 GPA in the major (including supporting courses) at the time of graduation.

All students will present their honors research in a symposium-like setting at the end of the spring semester.  The departmental honors designation will appear on a student’s transcript and on the printed program at graduation.  All honors theses will be kept in the Biology Department and in the College library.

*Please contact your advisor as to how these new Honor requirements will be implemented.