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Honors Program

Introduction to honors in BMB.

Schreyer Honors College students are eligible to obtain their honors degree from the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Department. The BMB department has a very robust honors program with approximately 75 members. For the scholastically inclined who are interested in laboratory research, the BMB honors program has much to offer.

Honors sections are available for the introductory Microbiology and Cell Biology courses and for the more advanced General Biochemistry courses. In addition, students can choose to do honors options (at the approval of the instructor) to enhance non-honors courses. Students interested in understanding biological processes at a molecular level will have the opportunity to do independent research in any laboratory on the University Park campus as long as the project uses molecular approaches to investigate biological mechanisms. Hence, research with faculty in BMB, Biology, Chemistry and other programs are suitable for obtaining an honors degree from BMB. 


Honors Thesis

The Honors Thesis is an important aspect of your Honors work in BMB. Normally, this will involve presenting original research results that you have performed over the previous semesters. Guidelines are outlined below.


Entrance into the BMB honors program

To be eligible for an honors degree from BMB, students must first apply to the Schreyer Honors College ( Students can apply for acceptance into the Schreyer Honors College at the time of their application to Penn State when their acceptance will be judged by the Schreyer Honors College. Alternatively, students already at Penn State with at least a 3.7 GPA can apply to the Schreyer Honors College at the end of their first or second year. Those Penn State students wanting to obtain an honors degree from BMB and meeting the eligibility requirements of the Schreyer Honors College, are then evaluated by honors advisors in BMB. Judgement is based on the student’s performance in Math and Chemistry courses as well the introductory Microbiology (Micrb 201) and Cell Biology (BMB/Micrb 251) courses. Since most students do not take the introductory Microbiology and Cell Biology courses until their second year, those students planning to obtain honors from BMB usually apply at the end of their second year if not already accepted to the honors college at the time of first enrolling into Penn State. Preference will be given to applicants having a letter of support/intent from faculty advisors in pre-identified host labs within the BMB Department or from other research labs located at University Park with prior approval.  

Honors Independent Research – BMB 496 Honors Option (BMB 496H)

To schedule Honors Independent Research, you must:

  1. Secure an eligible faculty member to supervise your work.  Please see Schreyer Honors College Handbook section about honors options for information about eligible faculty.  Visit the BMB 496: Independent Studies page for additional information specific to BMB Department research opportunities.
  2. Submit a completed BMB 496 Approval Form, Found in the Undergraduate Form Center, to the BMB Undergraduate Office via email to  A new form must be submitted for each semester that you wish to enroll in BMB 496.
  3. Since the department does not offer BMB 496 with an “H” suffix, you must submit the Honors Option Form to request honors credit for the course and must be filed online in the Student Records SystemPlease note, this form is not a Departmental form but a Schreyers form found in the Student Records System.

*Note: If you are a first-year student or a sophomore, it is not necessary to honors option BMB 496 because it already counts as honors credit.  Juniors and Seniors are permitted to count a total of 6 credits of 496 as honors credits.

The Schreyer Honors College permits a maximum of 6 honors independent research credits to be applied towards the 14-credit-upper-division honors credit requirement.  If you have more than 6 credits of apparent thesis work in the upper division and are relying upon those credits to reach the 14-credit requirement, the Academic Affairs Office may ask for documentation of compliance with the maximum.  Credits taken prior to junior year are exempt from this maximum, even if they are for work that leads to the thesis.

Spring 2024 Deadlines


  • January 26, 2024 - Friday - Honors Option Deadline for Submission to Schreyer
  • March 2, 2024 - Friday - Schreyer Plan Deadline for All Scholars
  • TBD - Priority Registration for Fall 2024

Graduating Scholars

  • April 15, 2023 - Saturday - Thesis Proposal Deadline to Schreyer
  • January 26, 2024 - Friday - Thesis Midpoint Check-In Deadline
  • February 19, 2024 - Monday - Deadline for Submitting Thesis Draft to Thesis Advisor
  • February 26, 2024 - Monday - Deadline for Thesis Advisor to Return Thesis Revision Comments to Honors Student
  • March 2, 2024 - Saturday - Thesis Format Review Deadline
  • March 11, 2024 – Deadline for Submitting Revised Thesis Draft to Honors Advisor/Second Reader
  • March 18, 2024 - Monday – Deadline for Honors Advisor/Second Reader to Return Thesis Revision Comments to Honors Student
  • April 2, 2024 - Tuesday - Final Thesis Submission Deadline to Schreyer
  • April 9, 2024 - Tuesday - Thesis & Honors Faculty Approval Deadline
  • April 11, 2024 - Thursday - Thesis Schreyer Approval Deadline
  • April 12, 2024 - Friday - Medals Ceremony Registration Deadline

***Schreyer specific dates are indicated in red. For Schreyer Deadlines, please visit the Schreyer Academic Handbook and select your entry year to find more information***

Schreyer Honors College

Schreyer Honors College


The Schreyer Honors College (Penn State's Honors College) website has information on honors courses, news and events, list of honor's courses and advisers, scholarships, your Honors Thesis and many more topics.