The MCB Honors Concentration is designed for exceptional MCB Majors who demonstrate personal motivation to explore a fuller complement of experiences in biology during their undergraduate training.

MCB honors students typically plan to enter graduate or professional programs and want an intensive undergraduate education as preparation. Although compatible, the MCB Honors Concentration is separate from the LAS James Scholar program.


Apply to MCB Honors  Watch Zoom presentation  FAQ about MCB Honors

Application Process


Applications are generally accepted during the first five weeks of the Fall or Spring semester, for admission in the following semester. There will be no application period for Fall 2024.  Dates for Spring 2025 will be posted in December.  


The MCB Honors Concentration is open to MCB majors only. All students admitted to the concentration must either change their major to MCB Honors or make MCB Honors their primary major, if they are completing more than one major.

In order to qualify for admission, students are typically required to have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, as well as grades of B+ or better in mathematics and science courses taken at the university. One year of general chemistry (Chem 102 and 104) must be completed before students can begin the program. Students will typically apply during their second or third semester on campus (first or second semester on campus, if a transfer student).  Please see the FAQ for further details. 

During the application period, a link to the online form can be found here. It is recommended that you prepare and save the information in a separate document and copy/paste it into the form for submission. You may re-submit an application if you wish to make changes. Only the last application submitted will be read. 

The required essays are a critical component of your application assessment. Please take the time to construct thoughtful answers that provide some insight into your personality and character. Applicants who have not met this criterion may not be selected for an interview. 


Remote Media URL

MCB Honors Concentration Information Session


Hear more about the program from Shawna Naidu, Honors Coordinator, and several students.

Program requirements


Honors students must

  • Fulfill all normal requirements of the MCB major

  • Complete five honors discussion sections

    • MCB 297 A, B, and C in consecutive order

    • MCB 298 A and B

  • Complete four or more MCB Honors points (options listed below), typically taken as third and fourth-year students (although Honors students are encouraged to begin MCB 290 research sooner, if chosen as an option.)

  • Complete all courses used to fulfill the above requirements with a grade of B- or better (if the course is graded).

  • Maintain the following minimum grade point averages: 3.5 cumulative or 3.3 major.

  • Other requirements may be added over time.

Required MCB Honors discussion sections

In addition to providing smaller and more interactive courses, honors sections are designed to help students develop skills in reading and critiquing primary scientific literature, analytical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, teamwork, and creativity.

Students must complete MCB 297 A, B and C in consecutive order and MCB 298 A and B in consecutive order.  297 and 298 can be taken at the same time.

Additional courses (points)

MCB Honors students must accumulate four MCB Honors points by choosing from the following options (each option is worth one point):

  1. Complete an additional advanced MCB course (1-4 credits) from the Approved List of Advanced Courses for MCB Majors .
  2. Complete an Honors Project in one advanced MCB course from the Approved List of Advanced Courses for MCB Majors.
  3. Complete MCB 290: Individual Topics (Undergraduate Research) for a minimum of 2 credit hours (or 1, if taken during the 8 wk summer session).
  4. Complete MCB 492: Senior Thesis (may be applied towards graduation with distinction).
  5. Complete MCB 292: Experiential Learning. Must be taken for a minimum of two credit hours.
  6. Study Abroad in an MCB-approved discipline-specific programs only.
  7. Complete an Approved Supplemental Advanced Course outside of MCB. (See Honors Coordinator for list of courses approved for this option.)

Students must consult the Honors Coordinator about MCB Honors Option courses. MCB 290 may be repeated up to two times, although continuing MCB 290 beyond two semesters is encouraged.  Other options may not be repeated.  Other restrictions may apply, and other courses/options may be added to this list over time.

Contact us


Shawna Naidu, PhD, Senior Coordinator for Instruction-Honors, can be reached at 217-333-6774 or