- No later than the beginning of the student's penultimate semester, the candidate should have identified an appropriate thesis advisor, obtained their permission to do research for credit with them, and identified an honors research project. Note that research experiences in CISAB faculty laboratories are competitive, and students are encouraged to begin seeking such opportunities early in the undergraduate career. Students are encouraged to visit with faculty in areas they find most interesting and can seek advice from Biology Advisors, their course instructors, or the CISAB director to identify appropriate faculty members.
- Once a student has identified a research/thesis advisor, the student should apply for the Honors Program by submitting an application to the Biology Advising Office and to CISAB.
- The experimental portion of the research project should be well underway no later than the start of the student's final semester.
- The student should form their honors thesis committee within six months of the end of the student's final semester. Forming the committee earlier is encouraged to allow the student to receive input on their project from their committee.
- The thesis committee should receive the honors thesis at least two weeks prior to the end of the student's final semester.
- The student should successfully defend their thesis for their committee at least one week prior to the end of the semester. Earlier defenses are encouraged to allow the student time to revise the thesis if required by their committee.
- The Biology advisors must certify the successful defense of the Honors' thesis with the Recorder's office at least one week before the end of the student's final semester. The student must submit a copy of the thesis, bound and signed by all committee members to the Biology advising office at least ten days before the end of the semester.
- Note that the final responsibility for meeting all of the deadlines for the honors degree lies with the student.
The Honors Thesis
The format of the Honors Thesis should follow that of a paper published in a primary literature. Typically, the thesis will include the following sections: abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgments, and bibliography. The Introduction and Discussion should include a review of the literature with citations. Data should be analyzed with appropriate statistics. Students are encouraged to begin writing their thesis early, and to solicit frequent feedback from their research mentor(s) on their writing. Students should read and understand the background literature for their project early in the process.
The Thesis Defense
The thesis defense will typically consist of an oral presentation of the research project, followed by a defense of the oral presentation and written thesis. The oral presentation may be open to the public, but will always include a closed defense with the student answering questions from their faculty committee.
Students seeking the Honors Degree in Animal Behavior must conduct an independent research project, write a thesis, and successfully defend the thesis before a faculty committee. The committee should have three faculty members, at least two of which must be CISAB faculty members. Students should select their committee in consultation with their faculty advisor as soon as possible. Students should meet with their committee jointly or individually no later than the third week of their final semester to receive preliminary approval of their project, and must defend their thesis before the entire committee no later than two weeks before the end of their final semester. Students should schedule their defense early to ensure that all committee members will be available.