Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors

The Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) is the home of the honors experience on the University of Massachusetts campus. The Microbiology Department offers students in our major the option to enroll in Departmental Honors (DH), an Advanced Scholarship Track of the CHC. Participation in Microbiology Departmental Honors requires admission to the program.

How to Apply for Departmental Honors

Students in the Microbiology major who are currently members of the CHC can apply for admission to Departmental Honors by contacting the Department's Honors Director, Professor Kristen DeAngelis. For Microbiology majors who are not yet members of the CHC can apply for admissions to Departmental Honors via the CHC online application process.

Admissions Criteria and Program Requirements

For a full description of the Microbiology Departmental Honors Program admission criteria, admission process and program requirements please go to CHC Microbiology Departmental Honors page.

Honors Research Guidance Committee

With the assistance of the Research Sponsor, you should form an Honors Research Guidance Committee before the beginning of your senior year. Arrange an informal introductory meeting with committee members to outline the planned research.

The Honors Research Guidance Committee will consist of the research sponsor, an additional faculty member, and an optional third member. At least one member of the Guidance Committee must be a member of the Department of Microbiology. The Committee will meet periodically to review progress, with a final committee meeting held to evaluate the content and presentation of the Honors Project.


All students completing the Departmental Honors Program will graduate as Commonwealth Scholars with Departmental Honors. The Registrar's Office maintains a page that describes requirements for graduating with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude).

Notes and Information

If you are interested in joining the Microbiology DH track, make an appointment with your Departmental Honors Director:

Kristen DeAngelis, Assistant Professor
N573 Life Science Laboratory
Tel: 577-4669

Prior to applying for Departmental Honors, students are strongly encouraged to identify a Research Sponsor and laboratory in which you will conduct research for your honors thesis.

Students should register for 499Y (Fall Term) and 499P (Spring Term) of their senior year. Completion of this two-semester sequence will fulfill the Individually Contracted Honors Thesis or Project requirement of Commonwealth College. In order to register, you must file the appropriate Research Contract Form and submit Research Proposal with Commonwealth Honors College. Forms and information on preparing your research proposal may be found here on the CHC website.

Students are expected to present their research before their guidance committee. This may be linked to the poster presentation at the Departmental Poster Session held at the end of Spring Semester.

Microbiology Honors Courses and Description

MICROBIO 391H: The Secret Lifestyle of Microorganisms, Honors Colloquium for Microbiology 310 or 311(1 cr)
A small group tutorial discussion taken with Microbio 310 or 311: the role of science in society combined with discussions of contemporary societal issues involving microbiology such as emerging infectious diseases and microbial biotechnology.

MICROBIO 396ISH Honors Independent Study in Microbiology (for 3 cr or more)

Program participants will undertake an honors section of independent study (research) under the direction of their research sponsor. Beyond the normal expectations for independent study students in the department, the honors section may include preparation of a review of the scientific literature in the field of the research project.

MICROBIO 499Y Honors Research (3 cr, Fall, Senior Year)

Original microbiological research carried out under the direction of the research sponsor. The honors student will take an active role in the experimental design of the research project. While it is not expected that undergraduate honors student will be fully capable of initiating original research on their own it is hoped that participation in the design and implementation of a research project will help the student acquire the necessary skills to carry out independent research. 

MICROBIO 499P Honors Project (Capstone Experience) (3 cr, Spring, Senior Year)

The honors project consists of completing and presenting the original research undertaken. The presentation will include but not be limited to an abstract suitable for publication and a research summary in the form of a poster appropriate for presentation at a scientific meeting. A Departmental Poster Presentation Session will be held at the end of the semester. Honors students are also encouraged to present their results at local or national scientific meetings. Students must also complete the Manuscript requirement for CHC.