Departmental Honors


The following criteria must be met to graduate with Honors in the Department of Biological Sciences:


  1. You must complete all of the usual requirements of a major in Biological Sciences, Computational Biology (or Bioinformatics), Ecology and Evolution, Microbiology, or Molecular Biology.
  2. Your final GPA for Biological Sciences courses must be 3.25 or above.
  3. Your final overall GPA for the 120 credits needed for graduation must also be 3.25 or above.
  4. You must complete one term of a Departmental seminar course.


After being accepted into the program, you must complete 6 credits of Biosc 1904, Honors Research, under the direction of a Biological Sciences faculty member. Alternatively, you may complete the equivalent of 6 credits worth of research, under the same degree of supervision and with the same requirements as would be implemented for BIOSC 1904. Consult our Departmental advisors for more information.

Honors Thesis

Based on your research conducted in Biosc 1904, you must take BIOSC 1905 in the spring term of your senior year to write an Honors Paper which includes:

  • A brief literature review
  • A description of materials and methods used
  • A description of results, including figures and tables based on data
  • A discussion of the significance of the results
  • A summary and brief list of conclusions

This paper must be turned in to the faculty member directing your research by the end of classes in your final term. It must be approved by him/her and by the Departmental Honors Committee.

Before starting to write an honors thesis, consult the requirements and deadlines.

ALL honors theses MUST use the following Microsoft Word Template. Documents using any other format will not be accepted.

End-of-semester reports should be completed using the following Microsoft Word Template.

Poster Session

You must present your research project at at least one poster session.  Some options include: the annual Department of Biological Sciences poster session (spring), or a national conference in your field (supplemental funding may be available through Pitt's David C. Frederick Honors College).

Oral Presentation

You must present the results of your research orally, together with other Honors candidates, at a one-day Departmental Honors Symposium, usually held before the end of classes in the Spring Term.


Students who are interested in the challenge of this program, and have a current QPA of 3.25 or above, should apply for admission. The Departmental Honors Committee will review applications twice a year; applications must be submitted by November 30 for the Spring Term and by March 30* for the Fall Term.

Your application must be submitted and reviewed in your sophomore or junior years (before you begin your final year) to ensure sufficient time to complete 6 credits of honors research. Only students admitted to the Departmental Honors program may register for Biosc 1904.

For further information about the Honors Program please visit the Biological Sciences Advising Office.