Honours Thesis Course
The Honours Thesis Course (BIOL537/12.0) is one of the capstone experiences offered to Biology students. It allows students to work on their own independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Biology Department or from a professor cross-appointed to the Biology Department. Students will have the opportunity to gain experience in the full range of research activity in Biology including project design, data analysis and interpretation, literature review, scientific writing, oral presentation and interactive collaboration with colleagues. Assessment is based in part on the submission and defence of a thesis. The Honours Thesis Course is particularly valuable hands-on experience for students who are planning to go on to pursue scientific research in graduate school and/or a career involving scientific research.
We strongly encourage all students interested in conducting independent research to apply. Queen’s University and Queen’s Biology are committed to equity and diversity in all programs and activities and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, BIPOC, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons. The experiences offered by the BIOL537 program are valuable for a wide range of career paths. Students from all backgrounds are strongly encouraged to consider the BIOL537 program.
Eligibility Students must be in a Biology Honours (BSCH) program to enrol in BIOL537, and must have an offer of mentorship from a faculty member. Since students are not just taking a course but are also collaborating in the research program of a faculty member, faculty make BIOL537 offers to students based on their application (see below).
Students are registered in BIOL537 during the fall and winter terms. Depending on the requirements of the project, however, some students may begin their BIOL537 research in the previous spring / summer terms. Often, this opportunity is combined with employment as a summer technician in the supervisor’s research lab. Note, however, that students and their supervisors must ensure that the student’s application for the course has been approved (see below) before the student commences work on a BIOL537 project.
Workload expectations Since the course is worth 12.0 units, students are normally expected to devote approximately 40% of their academic time to BIOL537 over the fall and winter terms, although this may be negotiated with the supervisor depending on the employment arrangements and amount of work accomplished in the previous summer.
Application Application is usually made in March while students are in their third year. At that time, students are notified about the application process. The details will include a list of faculty who are interested in supervising BIOL537 research projects, possible project descriptions and contact information. Once you have decided which faculty and research areas you are interested in, you can fill in the application form (see below). Sometime later in the winter term (usually end of March), applicants are notified regarding their acceptance in BIOL537.
Combined MSc/BScH Program This program provides the opportunity for Biology 537 Honour’s students who carry first-class standing to expedite their progress through an MSc degree, typically shortening the MSc program by two academic terms (see full details).