Honors Program

Honors Program

The honors experience in NBB is for students who have enjoyed their experience in research with an Emory faculty mentor and are looking for a capstone experience during their final year. Emory College of Arts and Science has specific requirements that apply to students completing honors in any major, and NBB has requirements specific for our majors describe below.


NBB students participate in the honors program during their final year. Students who expect to have a 3.5 cumulative GPA by fall of senior year should have identified a faculty research mentor and applied for NBB honors by June 15th of their third year. Applications are brief and include basic info such as mentor name, project title, and current GPA. Any Emory faculty member in any department can serve as an NBB honors thesis advisor, but the research project must relate to NBB.


During senior year, NBB honors students take two research-experience courses titled “Honors Research”, NBB495A and NBB495BW. Participation in these courses includes at least 12 hours of work on the research project each week as well as by-weekly meetings with other NBB researchers to develop professional skills such as navigating research ethics, presentation skills, and connecting their research to academic and professional goals.

In addition to the NBB honors research courses, students must take a graduate course. Any graduate course can be approved for this requirement as long as it is 2 credits or more, is taken for a letter grade, and passed with a C or higher. Most students take the graduate course in spring of their senior year, but it can be taken at any time. Students generally choose the graduate course based on recommendations from their research mentors and course descriptions posted on graduate program websites. No particular graduate program’s courses are preferred, but students often take graduate courses in Psychology, Public Health, and Neuroscience.


The majority of NBB majors work with faculty mentors in research experiences, and many students co-author manuscripts published in leading peer-reviewed journals. However, only honors students are mentored through the process of writing and defending a thesis. All student theses are published online through the university library and, after embargo to allow for data to be included in other articles, the theses are available to search.


After writing the thesis, honors students defend their work to a committee of at least three Emory faculty members. In consultation with their faculty research mentors, honors students form their committees during the first semester of honors. Any Emory faculty member can serve on a thesis committee, but the committee must contain one member of the faculty not in the NBB program, as well as two NBB program members from different departments. Students submit the written thesis and then present an oral summary of their work to the committee. The committee questions the student about the rationale, methods, interpretation and overall importance of the work, and upon completion of the defense, the committee determines whether the student has earned honors.

Current Year

Specific deadlines and other details for the current year students and mentors are gathered in our Honors Packet.


All faculty and students with questions about honors in NBB should contact Dr. Leah Roesch, Director of Undergraduate Research for NBB at leah.roesch@emory.edu.