Microbiology Honors Program

Book and pencil

Advisor: Linda McCarter, 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.


  • Approximately 9 weeks before graduation, you must submit your Degree Application and the Departmental Honors Application which can be found at the Honors at Iowa website.
  • 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 10 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 deposit with the Honor Program an Honors thesis and abstract (400 words or less) that has been approved by the research mentor and departmental Honors Advisor. 
  • Before depositing the thesis and abstract, you must submit a completed Honors Thesis/Project Submission Agreement to the Honors Program. The form can be found at the Honors at Iowa website.
  • The due date for submission of the abstract and thesis to the Honors program is usually the Wednesday before graduation, but verify this date. Your advisors’ signatures acknowledging satisfactory completion of requirements, and the submission to the Honors program must be obtained before that deadline. 
  • An electronic version of abstract and thesis (pdf or word file) should also be sent to the Microbiology Honors Advisor Linda McCarter, PhD.

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).
  • 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 Honors office 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.

Important Links:

Undergraduate Honors Office

If you have any additional questions, please contact Linda McCarter, PhD.