Senior Thesis FAQs

How do I get matched up with a faculty mentor for a Senior Thesis? Is one assigned to me?

It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with any faculty member with whom you might be interested in working.

Students must understand that individual faculty members frequently become "booked up" with all the students that they can handle ... and faculty members are not under an obligation to accept any particular student to work in their lab.

That said, there are many faculty members in the Department of Biology who are willing to supervise thesis students ... so we can confidently say that if you want to do a thesis (and you meet the requirements), you will be able to find someone with whom to work. If you have trouble with this step in the process, contact your advisor, Dr. Olson, or Dr. Curry for assistance in making contacts.

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What are the prerequisites for doing a Senior Thesis?

You must have a GPA of at least 3.0, and you must find a faculty member who agrees to supervise your work. Individual faculty members may ask you to take particular classes before initiating thesis work in their labs.

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Do I have to be in the Honors program to do a Senior Thesis as part of my Biology major?

No. Each year, roughly half of the students completing senior theses under the direction of Biology faculty members are not completing the Honors degree.

Doing a thesis in Biology (as opposed to Honors) involves completing Direct Research (usually in Fall of Senior year) and Senior Thesis (Spring, Senior year).

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I want to complete a thesis through Honors program. What courses do I need to complete?

HON 6100 (usually Fall, Senior year)

HON (Spring, Senior year)

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I want to compete a Biology thesis. Do I have to have a Second Reader?

At present, students completing a thesis through Biology do not need a Second reader. Students completing a thesis through Honors do need a Second Reader.

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If I'm doing a thesis, do I need to do anything special with regard to Senior Seminar ( BIO 5100 )?

Yes! All thesis students (Biology and Honors) completing senior theses under the direction of Biology faculty member are required to take the special section of BIO 5100 in the Spring semester of Senior year.

This special section of Senior Seminar culminates in an end-of-year Research Symposium, usually on the Reading Day of the Spring semester. Each thesis student presents her or his work orally to an audience of peers, graduate students, and faculty. For Honors students, this presentation takes the place of the Thesis Defense that other Honors students complete.

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If a BSC (Comprehensive Science) major. Can I still do a senior theses under the direction of Biology faculty member?

Yes, by taking the same courses that Biology or Honors majors would take, depending on whether you were in the Honors program in addition to BSC. BSC majors doing a thesis under the direction of Biology faculty member are strongly encouraged to take the Senior Thesis section of BIO 5100 in Spring of the Senior year, and to participate in the end-of-year research symposium.

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