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Microbiology Honors Program

Book and pencil

Advisor: Theresa Ho, Ph.D.

Microbiology Honors is a program for undergraduates majoring in Microbiology. This curriculum exposes students to basic laboratory research and the scientific method. Upon successful completion of the program, the student receives “Honors Graduate” designation on his/her diploma.

The requirements for acceptance into the program are a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.33 in all classes, as well as a minimum 3.33 GPA in the core microbiology courses. If these requirements are fulfilled, the student should then consult their faculty advisor and decide upon a mentor to guide their honors research. For this program, the mentor must be selected from primary or secondary Microbiology Department faculty.

Once a mentor is selected, the student signs up for MICR:4171 Honors Undergraduate Research in Microbiology. In general, this is arranged as three credit hours per semester. It is expected that the student conduct 15 to 20 hours of laboratory research per week for the successful fulfillment of Honors Research. Two semesters (six hours) of research is necessary to fulfill the requirement for graduation with honors. This means that students should begin their research at the beginning of their senior year, AT THE LATEST. Under extraordinary circumstances a student may complete all six hours of MICR:4171 in a single semester, however this is STRONGLY discouraged.

The Honors experience culminates in the authorship of a thesis and an oral presentation.

Please make an appointment with the Microbiology Honors Advisor if you are interested or planning to be in the program. Also, please remember to make an appointment with the advisor early in the semester you plan to graduate to ensure all requirements are on track. Your advisor will indicate your interest in pursuing Honors in the Major in MAUI.

Timeline and Deadlines:

  • Approximately 9 weeks before graduation, you must submit your Degree Application and indicate Honors status (request Honors Designation under “Your current programs of study”), if given the option. Make sure to also send an email to the departmental Honor’s Advisor, who will request your status to be moved to “Initial approval for pursuing honors”).
  • Students are required to achieve a final minimum 3.33 GPA in all classes and in the major at the time of graduation.
  • Students are required to give a 15-minute oral presentation of their thesis work at the Department of Microbiology Honors symposium, which will be held prior to graduation.
  • Students are required to submit an Honors thesis and abstract that has been approved by the research mentor and departmental Honors Advisor. 
  • Electronic version of the final approved thesis should be submitted to Research Mentor and Honors Advisor. A pdf or word document file is suggested.
  • The due date for final, approved submission of the abstract and thesis is the Monday of finals week.  Mentor and Honors Advisors must acknowledge satisfactory completion of requirements before that deadline. 

Application for Graduation 

Students must apply for the degree during the semester in which all requirements will be met. A Degree Application must be filed for a student to be considered eligible for the degree. The University of Iowa does not confer degrees without a complete application. Please note the important deadline for this application. Students are urged to apply as soon as possible.

  • Students should meet with their professional academic advisor before completing a degree application to ensure appropriate timing for completing all needed requirements for graduation. The professional advisor and the faculty mentor overseeing the thesis or project must be kept aware of your progress as you complete the requirements for Honors in the Major.
  • Students must also make sure that any related thesis or project is submitted to the instructor grading the project as soon as possible in the semester of graduation. Verification of this project or thesis and its grading must be completed before Honors in the Major can be awarded.
  • The student is responsible for making sure the project or thesis is completed in ample time to be graded and verified for the award of Honors in the Major.
  • Students should discuss these procedures with their professional advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with the faculty mentor overseeing the final Honors in the Major project or thesis, and with the department's faculty advisor for Honors in the Major.
  • Students apply for degree via the MyUI student portal during the semester of completion of all requirements for the degree and for Honors in the Major. A Degree Application must be filed for a student to be considered eligible for the degree. The University of Iowa does not confer degrees without a complete application. Visit the Registrar's page for more information on the application for graduation and related questions.

Submission and Deposit of the Honors Thesis to the UI Repository

The thesis may also be deposited in the UI Online Repository. All students are encouraged to participate in sharing their work through the UI IRO repository. However, students need to discuss this with their faculty research mentor and obtain permission. In some cases, it will not be advisable. For example, if future peer-reviewed publications are planned. Note: the work can be embargoed for a specified time. For information about the submission of a thesis or project to UI Iowa Research Online, which is a service provided by UI libraries, please see this page.

Other important points:

  • Honors in the Microbiology major requires six semester hours of Honors Undergraduate Research in Microbiology MICR:3171 (up to 4 s.h. of which may be applied to the Advanced Electives requirement for the major)
  • You may NOT receive honors credit for paid research (either as a work study or through the undergraduate employment program).
  • You may hold research scholarships while conducting undergraduate research (such as the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Internship).
  • Sign up for the Honors Listserv, which disseminates information on programs, activities, scholarships and other announcements of interest to Honors students (see Honors Program website below).
  • For information about style and formatting of the Honors Thesis, please follow the Department of Microbiology's Honors Thesis Guidelines.
  • Be sure that you meet the deadlines for turning in all appropriate graduation materials. There is additional paperwork that is required for Honors Graduation. Your status should be checked with the registrar at the beginning of your final semester.
  • In some instances, you may be allowed to start Honors Research if your GPA is lower than 3.33 IF you can demonstrate a strong chance that your GPA will be above 3.33 upon graduation. In this case, the final decision will rest with the honors and undergraduate advisors.
  • Students earning Honors in the Major are not required to be members of the University Honors Program; however, many students earn both University Honors and Honors in the Major. The UI Honors Program allows undergraduates to complete Honors in the Major for the 12 s.h experiential learning requirement for UI Honors.
  • Each student's goals and needs are unique and all students are strongly encouraged to talk with advisors and mentors who can support the student's individual choice about how to pursue honors opportunities at the University of Iowa.

Important Links:

UI Honors Program

Honors in the Major: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)

Honors Thesis Preparation and Submission