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Graduation with Distinction in MCB

To provide recognition of senior students in the MCB major, who have demonstrated excellence in both their academics and in research, the MCB Distinction Committee, composed of MCB faculty members and staff, may award the graduation honor of "Distinction in MCB", "High Distinction in MCB" "Highest Distinction in MCB" or "Distinction for Academic Excellence". Students in MCB may qualify for both research distinction and academic distinction.

Click on each level of distinction below to reveal requirements for that level. Please pay close attention to deadlines as they are strictly enforced.

Distinction for Excellence in Research:

To be eligible for graduation with Distinction a student must:
  • Complete a minimum of 3 semesters of MCB 290 for 2 credit hours or more each semester, in the same lab. Participation in any of the MCB sponsored Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships can be substituted for one semester of MCB 290.
  • Register for MCB 290 (or MCB 492, if submitting thesis for a grade only), for at least 2 credit hours, in their final semester. This can count as one of the 3 required semesters.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the end of penultimate semester (next to last semester).
  • Give at least one poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium or other approved venue.
  • Submit a PDF of their poster to the Distinction committee by the posted deadline. The poster must be submitted as a PDF. No other formats will be accepted. Please be sure you receive a confirmation email.
  • Obtain a letter of support from their Principal Investigator (faculty advisor).
  • Be free of academic integrity violations.
  • Note, completion of the above criteria does not guarantee that you will earn distinction. The committee will make a final determination based on the quality of the poster and the PI letter.

High Distinction for Excellence in Research:

To be eligible for graduation with High Distinction a student must:
  • Complete 2 semesters of MCB 290 for 2 credit hours or more each semester, in the same lab. Participation in any of the MCB sponsored Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships can be substituted for one semester of MCB 290.
  • Register for MCB 492, in their final semester, for 3 credit hours or more.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the end of penultimate semester (next to last semester).
  • Give at least one poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium or other approved venue.
  • Obtain a letter of support from their Principal Investigator (faculty advisor).
  • Submit a written thesis and PDF of poster, according to these guidelines, by the posted deadline. The thesis and poster must be submitted as a PDF. No other formats will be accepted. Please be sure you receive a confirmation email.
  • Be free of academic integrity violations.
  • Note, completion of the above criteria does not guarantee that you will earn high distinction. The committee will assign an appropriate level of distinction based on the quality of the written thesis and the PI letter.

Highest Distinction for Excellence in Research:

To be eligible for graduation with Highest Distinction a student must:
  • Complete 2 semesters of MCB 290 for 2 credit hours or more each semester, in the same lab. Participation in an MCB sponsored Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships can be substituted for one semester of MCB 290.
  • Register for MCB 492, in their final semester, for 3 credit hours or more.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.90 at the end of penultimate semester (next to last semester).
  • Give at least one poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium or other approved venue.
  • Obtain a letter of support from their Principal Investigator (faculty advisor).
  • Submit a written thesis and PDF of poster, according to these guidelines, by the posted deadline. The thesis and poster must be submitted as a PDF. No other formats will be accepted. Please be sure you receive a confirmation email.
  • Be free of academic integrity violations.
  • Note, completion of the above criteria does not guarantee that you will earn highest distinction. The committee will assign an appropriate level of distinction based on the quality of the written thesis and the PI letter.

Distinction for Excellence in Academics:

To be eligible for graduation with Academic Distinction a student must:

  • Achieve a major GPA of 3.90 or higher in the MCB major (biology, chemistry, physics and math courses for the MCB major) at the end of their penultimate semester (next to last semester).
  • Be free of academic integrity violations.
  • No forms are necessary for academic distinction. All students earning the appropriate GPA will be notified that they will be receiving academic distinction prior to graduation.

Please check with the MCB Undergraduate Instructional Program Office in 127 Burrill Hall, if you have any questions regarding Graduation with any form of Distinction.

Submitting Thesis for credit and grade in MCB 492 (no distinction):

To earn a grade in MCB 492 a student must:
  • Complete 2 semesters of MCB 290 for 2 credit hours or more each semester, in the same lab. Participation in an MCB sponsored Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship can be substituted for one semester of MCB 290.
  • Register for MCB 492, in their final semester, for 3 credit hours or more.
  • Submit a written thesis, in PDF format according to these guidelines, online by the last day of classes during the semester you will be graduating. Note the thesis must be submitted in PDF format. No other formats will be accepted. Please be sure you receive a confirmation email.
  • Obtain a letter of support from their Principal Investigator (faculty advisor).

Sample Theses from Previous Students

Exploration of Optical Topometry to Study the Epidermal Surface of Arabidopsis thaliana, written by Ryan David Kelsch May 2013. Research performed in Dr. Thomas Jacobs' lab, Department of Plant Biology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thesis awarded High Distinction.

Coordination of silencing of two cis- linked reported genes using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), written by Jurgis Alvikas May 2013. Research performed in Dr. Andrew S. Belmont's lab, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thesis awarded Highest Distinction.

Additional theses from past students are available to view in room 164A Burrill Hall. You will need to check them out using your University ID and they cannot leave the advising office.

Guidelines for Senior Thesis Format

Submission Deadlines for Graduation With Distinction and Senior Thesis

If you intend to submit a senior thesis for high or higest distinction consideration, be sure to confirm that your P.I. will turn in a letter of support by the thesis deposit deadline.

If you are writing a senior thesis for a grade or high or highest distinction consideration, you must be registered for MCB 492. Please use this MCB 492 Request Form for registration and have it processed in 127 Davenport Hall by the campus add deadline.

Graduation Term
Deadline for High and Highest Distinction
Deadline for Distinction or MCB 492 Grade Only
Tentative Notification Date
Spring 2019
March 15, 2019, 5pm
May 1, 2019, 5pm
April 12, 2019
Summer 2018
Friday, July 20, 2018, 5:00pm
Thursday, August 2, 2018, 5:00pm
August 6, 2018
Fall 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018, 5:00pm
Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 5:00pm

December 17, 2018

Forms

Theses submitted after the deadline will not be considered for High or Highest Distinction. If you miss the deadline, but still wish to be considered for Distinction and/or receive credit and a letter grade in MCB 492, you may still write and submit a thesis and a PDF of your poster by the last day of classes during the semester you will be graduating. A letter from your research advisor approving your thesis must also be submitted by the last day of classes in your final semester. The letter of support can be uploaded at http://go.illinois.edu/recletter and should reference your P.I's opinion of your research performance, the quality of your thesis, and the specific contributions made by you and other laboratory members to your project. Your P.I. will be responsible for issuing your grade for MCB 492 in the Enterprise system prior to the university deadline for submitting final semester grades.

For additional questions regarding Senior Thesis and Graduation with Distinction please call 217-244-6239 or email tmknox@illinois.edu.