Honours in Biology: FAQs

Q. What is it?
A. Students work independently on an original research question/problem in collaboration with a faculty member.

Q. Do I need to choose my own project? 
A. No, but you can certainly have input into your project. You need to commit to a supervisor (and vice versa) and together you will come up with your project.

Q. Can I work on anything that interests me? 
A. Your project usually needs to fall within the realm of your supervisor’s research program.

Q. What is the first step?
A. Students should make an appointment to visit potential supervisors and ask about their research. Be prepared to tell faculty members about yourself.

Q. What are the important considerations in deciding on a project/supervisor?
A. You should keep an open mind. Once you take ownership of a project, you may be surprised about how much in interests you. You should think about:
- how much direct supervision you would like/require.
- the working relationship you will have with your supervisor.

- your goals. Are you interested in potentially publishing your work, attending conferences?

- the type of research you make like to do (e.g. field, lab, behaviour, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, a combination).

Q. What is the time commitment? 
A. You may have the opportunity to begin research in May and worth throughout the summer. Alternatively, your project begins in September. You should expect to spend several hours/week on thesis-related work.

Q. How are supervisor-student decisions made? 
A. Once you have chatted to several potential advisors, you should let faculty know if you would like to work with them. You are likely to get one of your top 3 choices. Faculty members speak to each other and somehow it all works out!
You must fill out a form (Intent to do Honours Biology) by early December and hand into Cheryle with your top 3 choices.

Q. What is BIOL 4903
A. As an Honours student, you register in BIOL 4990 (Thesis = 6 credits) and BIOL 4903 (3 credits). Both are year-long courses. BIOL 4903 (Current Advances) usually meets every second week. You engage in thesis-related work (e.g. seminars, discussions).

Q. Is it possible to do a minor? 
A. Yes, it is usually no problem to have a minor with an Honours. You may use any courses from your Honours towards your minor (there are no cross-over limits).

Q. How am I graded? 
A. You receive a grade for 4903 from the 4903 faculty member based on the work you do in this course. Your 4990 grade comes from your written thesis (80%) and a presentation you give on Honours Day in April (20%). You need a B in BIOL 4990 to gain Honours. If this does not happen but you pass, you will be given 6 credits as BIOL4950.

How to apply:
To apply for the honours program, please fill out this form and return it to Cheryle Waterlot (cwaterlot@mta.ca), Secretary, Department of Biology, by December 9, 2016.