Cover Letter

Submit 1 page, single-spaced:

  1. Include your email, college, major, year, and mentor.
  2. Include how long you have worked with your mentor.
  3. Include whether you are in the Ysuko Scholars or Glynn Honors program.
  4. Include why you are applying to the Honors Program.
  5. Include career plans, including an explanation of how your research experience would fit into your career plans, both immediate and long-term.

Research Statement

Submit 5-6 pages, single-spaced:

  1. Research Experiences (description of the research undertaken to date, in courses and with research mentors and how you developed from each experience)
  2. Research Intent (description of proposed research that provides sufficient detail, 3-4 pages, to demonstrate the viability and worthiness of the research, and enable reviewers unfamiliar with your specific area of research to provide a reasonable assessment)*
  3. Significance of Proposed Research (a paragraph describing the broader impact – how could the information generated by this research be applied or have an impact on scientific knowledge)
  4. Timeline of your research by semester until graduation. Your application packet should be reviewed by your mentor before you submit.

*The Research Intent, (2) above, should adhere closely to the following structure:

  • Background (with references)
  • Preliminary Results, if applicable
  • Two or More Specific Aims of Proposed Project that each include the following subsections: hypothesis, rationale (for that aim), experimental strategy with methods, interpretation and significance.

The Research Intent (2) should also include:

  • Intellectually deep hypotheses and an ambitious and multi-faceted project that would necessitate multiple specific aims (2 – 4 aims is the average)
  • A description of experiments that will be conducted through the spring of senior year
  • Research that is driven by the scientific thought process versus a mostly a technical contribution
  • The student’s role and project should be clearly defined, if the student is part of a research team on a large project.

Nomination Letter from Faculty Mentor

This letter should include an overall assessment of a student’s potential and past performance. It should also include a statement on the research likely to be presented or published, the mentorship the student will receive, and the likelihood of the student completing the Honors Program requirements. Please email to by November 1.

Application Deadline

Application materials are due by November 1. Application materials should be emailed to the Department of Biological Sciences at

Selection and Notification

Selection by the Undergraduate Research Committee in Biological Sciences will be based on a cover letter, research statement, transcript, and nomination letter from their faculty research mentor. Applicants will be notified by November 20.

Primary Contact

For more information or if there are questions, please contact: Michelle Whaley, Undergraduate Research and Honors Program Coordinator – Department of Biological Sciences, (574) 631-9343, Jordan 226.

Thesis Information

Students will write parts of their thesis in the senior research seminar with input from the advisor and the seminar instructors. The final version of the thesis will be written with the advisor, and will be submitted by April 1. Each thesis will be reviewed by one member of the Undergraduate Research Committee or an outside reviewer by April 15. The students will be notified by April 16 if a rewrite is needed. The rewrite will be due April 26 and will have to be approved by the same reviewer by May 3. If the thesis is not approved, a second committee member will read the thesis and confer by May 10. Guidelines for the thesis and thesis reviewers will be provided in the senior seminar.

Research Seminars (Graded)

The purpose of the seminar is to create a small learning community where students and practicing scientists can connect. The seminar learning goals are to support and develop each student's independence, scientific communication skills, critical review skills, and understanding of their research in the context of the larger field. The seminar will have the added benefit of helping students prepare for graduate applications and fellowships.