Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors (DH) is an Advanced Scholarship track of Commonwealth Honors College (CHC). Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, which includes Honors General Studies, or they may complete DH alone. All DH students are members of CHC.

Successful completion of the DH course requirements with minimum grades of B (or as specified below) and the submission of a properly formatted Honors Thesis or Portfolio manuscript (minimum grade of B for Seminar manuscripts) will result in the award of "Departmental Honors" on the student's academic transcript. For information about DH, speak with your Honors Program Director and see Admissions Process below. For information about the full CHC Curriculum, click here.

General Admission Criteria

Minimally, to be eligible to apply for DH, students must have:

  • An overall GPA of 3.400 or higher earned after one or more full-time semester/s of UMass Amherst coursework
  • The ability to complete the DH sub-plan requirements
  • The ability to complete the CHC minimum residency requirement, i.e., 45-graded (not pass/fail) credits earned at UMass Amherst (not transferred)

Admissions Process

  • UMass Amherst students who are not already members of CHC must apply to Departmental Honors, an Advanced Scholarship CHC sub-plan. Read more by visiting the Apply page.
  • Students who are already members of CHC should meet with the department’s Honors Program Director (HPD) regarding their interest in joining Departmental Honors (DH), an Advanced Scholarship CHC sub-plan. The HPD will determine a student's eligibility and preparedness for DH. Admission to DH will be at the discretion of the HPD based on the criteria as established by the department and CHC (see General Admission Criteria above). The HPD will notify the CHC office of newly accepted DH students so appropriate steps can be taken to designate the sub-plan on SPIRE.
Departmental Admission Criteria

Students may apply to BMB DH only AFTER they have started doing independent research in labs as approved by the BMB HPD.

Program Requirements
  • 1 BIOCHEM Honors course at any level: can be satisfied with BIOCHEM 291H (prerequisite is BIOCHEM 285), a BIOCHEM ISH, or another pre-approved course (contact BIOCHEM department for approval)
  • 1 BIOCHEM honors course 300-level or higher (e.g., BIOCHEM 396ISH or 496ISH for 3cr)  
  • 1 Honors writing course: BIOCHEM 430H or ICONS 289H (or another pre-approved course - contact BIOCHEM department for approval)
  • Honors Thesis or Project. Options include:
    Individually contracted: BIOCHEM 499Y Honors Research and BIOCHEM 499T Honors Thesis

    • Notes: Lab Work: BMB DH students may conduct thesis research in labs outside the BMB department with permission of the BMB HPD. This includes labs in the Five-College system that are members of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program. The Chair of the thesis committee must be the Principal Investigator (P.I.) of the student's research lab. If research is conducted outside the BMB department, the second committee member must be BMB faculty.

Requirement Exceptions Note

Note: exceptions to the requirements above require approval by both the Honors Program Director (HPD) and a Commonwealth Honors College advisor; Petition for Exception requests must be submitted through CHC PATHS.

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