What is the Honors Program?

The Honors Program in Integrative Biology provides an exciting opportunity to gain valuable professional experience by working closely with a faculty sponsor to conduct a biology-related independent research project. It is also a great way to receive recognition for your outstanding academic achievements.

If you are a sophomore or junior, interested in pursuing honors your senior year, now is a good time to look for a lab position. You can get some tips on how to find a lab on our research page, or by talking to a staff or peer advisor.

What are the Requirements of the Honors Program?

  • Maintain a 3.3 GPA overall AND in the IB major. Students without a 3.3 major GPA may still be eligible if it is mathematically possible to graduate with a 3.3 major GPA after the conclusion of H196B. Please consult with a staff advisor to discuss your course plan and major GPA if interested in honors.
  • Take two semesters of honors courses: H196A and H196B (3 units each, letter-graded).
  • Design and carry out a biology-related independent research project in consultation with a principal investigator (a.k.a. PI: the person in whose lab students are performing research).
    • Honors students are allowed to conduct research in either on-campus or off-campus labs. On-campus labs do NOT necessarily have to be in IB.
    • Students who are working in non-IB labs are required to have both a PI and an IB faculty sponsor.
  • Submit an honors thesis after completing two honors courses.
    • The thesis should summarize the experimental progress and results from the student's honors work.
    • Students must submit their thesis to their PI, IB faculty sponsor (if applicable), and the advising office.
    • Sample theses are available for viewing in the advising office.
    • Guidelines for composing a thesis are available to current honors students through bCourses.
  • All honors students enrolled in honors in their spring semester are required to present a poster describing their findings at Cal Day (a public event held each April).
    • The cost for printing posters is covered by the department.
    • Guidelines for creating a poster are available to current honors students through bCourses.

**An honors student's PI and faculty sponsor will correspond with one another to assign a letter grade for each honors course, research project, thesis and poster. Students are required to submit their project and thesis to both their PI and faculty sponsor.

Program Restrictions 

  • It is not permissible to use the same research for IB H196 to count for IB Honors and other academic credit.
  • Participants may not retroactively earn IB Honors credit for research projects that were completed before enrolling in H196A. 
  • Participants in IB H196 are not permitted to receive employment compensation for research while in the honors program but students may speak to a faculty advisor to determine if alternative arrangements can be made. Research grants are permissible. 
  • Participants may select 3 units of either H196A or H196B to count towards IB upper division elective requirements. This option is not available if IB 191 has already been selected to count for IB upper division elective requirements. 

What is the Application Process?

  • An application for IB H196A can be obtained from the advising office or on our forms page.
  • Most students conduct their honors projects over the course of their senior year, taking H196A in fall and H196B in spring. Other options (e.g. summer and fall) are possible, if arranged in advance.
  • All applications, fall or spring, are due by the end of the third week of instruction. The course must then be added by the campus' add/drop deadline

How Do I Get More Guidance and Information?

  • Email the IB Honors coordinator at zachestnut@berkeley.edu.
  • Come to the advising office and speak with an advisor!