Departmental Honors Program in Biochemistry
The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics invites motivated students that meet high academic standards to join our Honors Program. The Honors Program provides students majoring in Biochemistry with an enhanced curriculum and advanced research training. Participation in the Honors Program will position graduates to excel in professional and graduate training programs and achieve successful careers in diverse fields, from industry to academia and medicine. Honors students participate in specialized course sections structured around small, interactive groups of students and faculty. The Honors sections provide the students with experiences exploring academic subjects beyond that available in the standard classroom, learning scientific communication skills, and contributing to teaching. Honors students will complete a thesis based on their first-hand laboratory research and use this experience as a platform to communicate their work through a selection of writing and speaking formats such as our Honors Research Symposium. Graduates of the Biochemistry Honors Program will gain the knowledge and experience to position them to become leaders in a diversity of health and life-sciences professions.
Admission to the Honors Program in Biochemistry
Students are encouraged to indicate their interest in Biochemistry Honors on the ApplyTexas website by choosing “Apply to Any Honors Program”. Students may also email email@example.com with “Biochemistry Honors” in the subject line for instructions on how to apply to the Biochemistry Honors Program.
Application to the Biochemistry Honors Program will consist of a form with questions to assess the student’s motivation and preparation for joining the honors program. If provided, standardized test scores and class rank will also contribute to a holistic assessment of the application.
Current or Transfer Students
Current or transfer students with a cumulative TAMU GPR of 3.5 may request an application form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “Biochemistry Honors” in the subject line. The form will consist of several questions to assess the student’s motivation and preparation for joining the honors program. When applying, students should keep in mind that they will need to fulfill all honors requirements. It is recommended that current or transfer students meet first with the Honors Program Coordinator to determine whether they can satisfy all requirements.
Participants in the University Honors Program
Biochemistry students earning the University Honors distinction are encouraged to join the Biochemistry Honors program. The coursework required for Biochemistry Honors can be used to satisfy course requirements for the Honors Fellows distinction, and the Biochemistry Honors research requirement prepares University Honors students to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars honors capstone.
Biochemistry Honors Requirements
Successful completion of the Biochemistry Honors program requires both Honors classes and undergraduate research under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative Texas A&M University GPA of 3.5 with a minimum of 3.25 in Honors classes. Students falling below these standards will be placed on probation for the next semester. Students unable to meet these standards for a second consecutive semester will be dismissed from Biochemistry Honors. To count towards Biochemistry Honors credit, Honors classes must be completed with a grade of A or B.
Students wishing to pursue honors distinctions in Biochemistry must earn 18 credits in Honors courses which must be completed as follows:
Cornerstone Biochemistry Courses (9 credit hours):
3 credit hours BICH 431H Molecular Genetics
3 credit hours BICH 440H Biochemistry I
3 credit hours BICH 441H Biochemistry II
Students are strongly encouraged to take BICH 440H in the fall and BICH 441H in the spring, when honors sections of these courses are offered.
Additional Honors Courses (3 credit hours):
3 credit hours Any 100/200/300/400/-level honors course or a 600-level course that is required or elective for the Biochemistry major, excluding non-STEM core curriculum and elective courses.
Non-honors sections may be contracted for honors credit if an honors section of the course is not available in the same semester
Additional course requirements: Because the field of biochemistry is increasingly reliant on Big Data (e.g., analysis of large data sets or molecular modeling of protein structures), Honors program students must select at least one quantitative or computational biochemistry elective. These courses include BICH 419, BIOL 350, BIOL 451, BICH/GENE 464, STAT 446, and VTPP 438. Students may petition the Honors Program Coordinator to determine if other courses meet this requirement. If students have already taken or plan to take a different honors or graduate course (such as a 100- or 200-level biology or chemistry honors course), this elective can be taken for regular non-honors credit.
AP and IB credit may not be used towards Honors credit
Research Option (6 credit hours):
5 credit hours BICH 491H Research
1 credit hour BICH 491H-W Research – writing-intensive
Research and Teaching Option (6 credit hours):
3-4 credit hours BICH 491H Research
1 credit hour BICH 491H-W Research – writing-intensive
1-2 credit hours BICH 485H Directed Studies – teaching mentorship
BICH 491H Research: Honors students can enroll in research hours in any lab in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department or labs in other departments conducting biochemical research. Biochemistry Honors students are strongly encouraged to start BICH 491H no later than their sophomore year. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. BICH 491H has additional expectations beyond non-honors BICH 491. One requirement is to attend an Honors Symposium at the end of each year, in which students completing BICH 491H-W will present their research. Second, students must complete an additional activity that differentiates their Honors research from non-Honors 491. This activity must be described on the registration form for BICH 491H. Examples of additional activities are:
- An oral or poster presentation at a national or international meeting
- An oral or poster presentation during Student Research Week
- Development of novel shared research resources such as software programs, laboratory protocols, new apparatus, or analytical procedures
- Applications for scholarships, including Goldwater, Astronaut, NSF
- Lab leadership, including responsibilities for training and coordinating personnel
- Students, in consultation with their research advisor, may propose other activities to the Honors Program Coordinator for approval.
BICH 491H-W: The final credit of BICH 491H will be a writing-intensive credit, in which students write a paper describing research they conducted over multiple semesters of BICH 491H research. In addition, they will present their research in the Biochemistry and Genetics Honors Symposium, which will be held in April each year. The research paper will be replaced by an Honors Thesis if students participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.
BICH 485H: Students who have a strong interest in developing teaching and communication skills may replace up to 2 credit hours of BICH 491H with a teaching-intensive BICH 485H – Directed Studies. Students who select this option will be mentored in course design, development, and instruction by a Biochemistry or Genetics instructor. Specific activities will be determined in consultation with the instructor, but they may include conducting small group discussions, lecture design and delivery, problem-solving sessions, and individual help sessions. The courses are limited to 400-level lecture courses and above. Students must have completed the course to which they are assigned and receive approval from the instructor.
Graduating with Biochemistry Honors
To graduate with the Biochemistry Honors distinction, students must achieve the following:
- Complete the Biochemistry Honors course requirements with a minimum cumulative Texas A&M University GPA of 3.5 and a minimum of 3.25 in Genetics Honors courses.
- No grade lower than a B in courses counting towards Genetics Honors. (If a student receives less than a B in an Honors course they will still receive credit for that course towards graduation. However, they must take a different course to fulfill their Honors requirement with a grade of B or above).
- No F* (academic dishonesty) on the transcript.
All honors courses will be denoted as honors on students’ official transcripts. Furthermore, students completing the Biochemistry Honors Program will have the Genetics honors distinction, as well as any earned university or college distinction, noted on the official transcript.
Dr. Margy Glasner, Director of Honors in Biochemistry and Genetics
Biochemistry Undergraduate Program
Biochemistry Building (BICH) Room104