Departmental Honors Program in Genetics

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 Genetics 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 and Biophysics 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 Genetics

Incoming Freshmen

Students are encouraged to indicate their interest in Genetics Honors on the ApplyTexas website by choosing “Apply to Any Honors Program”. Students may also email with “Genetics Honors” in the subject line for instructions on how to apply to the Genetics Honors Program. 

Application to the Genetics 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 with “Genetics 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

Genetics students earning the University Honors distinction are encouraged to join the Genetics Honors program. The coursework required for Genetics Honors can be used to satisfy course requirements for the Honors Fellows distinction, and the Genetics Honors research requirement prepares University Honors students to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars honors capstone.

Genetics Honors Requirements

Successful completion of the Genetics 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 Genetics Honors. To count towards Genetics Honors credit, Honors classes must be completed with a grade of A or B.

Students wishing to pursue honors distinctions in Genetics must earn 18 credits in Honors courses which must be completed as follows:

Cornerstone Genetics Courses (9 credit hours):

3 credit hours     GENE 302H Principles of Genetics

3 credit hours    GENE 412H Population, Quantitative and Ecological Genetics

3 credit hours GENE 431H Molecular Genetics

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 Genetics 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.

AP and IB credit may not be used towards Honors credit

Research Option (6 credit hours):

5 credit hours    GENE 491H Research

1 credit hour      GENE 491H-W Research – writing-intensive

Research and Teaching Option (6 credit hours):

3-4 credit hours GENE 491H Research

1 credit hour      GENE 491H-W Research – writing-intensive

1-2 credit hours GENE 485H Directed Studies – teaching mentorship


GENE 491H Research: Honors students can enroll in research hours in any lab in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department or labs in other departments conducting genetics research. Genetics Honors students are strongly encouraged to start GENE 491H no later than their sophomore year. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. GENE 491H has additional expectations beyond non-honors GENE 491. One requirement is to attend an Honors Symposium at the end of each year, in which students completing GENE 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 GENE 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.

GENE 491H-W: The final credit of GENE 491H will be a writing-intensive credit, in which students write a paper describing research they conducted over multiple semesters of GENE 491H research. In addition, they will present their research in the Biochemistry and Genetics Honors Symposium. The research paper will be replaced by an Honors Thesis if students participate in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.

GENE 485H: Students who have a strong interest in developing teaching and communication skills may replace up to 2 credit hours of GENE 491H with a teaching-intensive GENE 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 302-level lecture courses and above. Students must have completed the course to which they are assigned and receive approval from the instructor.

Graduating with Genetics Honors

To graduate with the Genetics Honors distinction, students must achieve the following:

  1. Complete the Genetics 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.
  2. 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).
  3. No F* (academic dishonesty) on the transcript.

All honors courses will be denoted as honors on students’ official transcripts. Furthermore, students completing the Genetics 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