The Biology Department participates in the College’s Honor Program. To be accepted into the Department's Honors program, students must have a cumulative GPA (all college courses) of at least 3.30 and a GPA in their biology courses of at least 3.40. The requirements for an Honors Project are similar to those for a Senior Presentation, but the expectations are higher, both in quality and quantity. In addition, Honors Projects must be based on independent research, which is not the case for Senior Presentations.
A student must first make a formal application to the Department to pursue and Honors Project. This involves completing an overview of the project, a description of research conducted so far, as well as that yet to be done, and a preliminary bibliography. The Honors applications are reviewed by several faculty members and either accepted or rejected. Honors students must turn in a completed draft of their literature review along with a progress report of their research by the end of January. This is also looked at by several faculty members and depending on the quality of this draft, and the student's progress on their research, students are either granted permission to continue with their Honors Project, or not, in which case the student would continue with the project as a Senior Presentation.
Honors students must present a 45 minute seminar on their project and then defend their thesis to a three-person faculty panel, ideally with at least one of the three panel members being from outside Macalester.