“Roadmap” for MCB Honors Courses

This is a “roadmap” of suggested courses for exploring research opportunities within Molecular and Cell Biology. Boxed courses are those that relate directly to research opportunities while the remainder are courses that can enhance your research experience within MCB.

Freshman Year:

Honors BIOL 1107

BIOL 1108/1109
Topics in Modern Biology

Sophomore/Junior Year:

BIOL 2289
Intro to Undergraduate Research

MCB 4989 or Lab Volunteer


Junior Year:

MCB 4989 or 3100
Undergraduate Research

MCB 3841W Research Literature in Molecular and Cell Biology
MCB 5000s coursework
SURF opportunities in the summer

    Senior Year (Fall):    

MCB 4989 or 3189
Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research Symposium- April of every year


    Senior Year (Spring):    

Honors Thesis



The Honors Program in MCB is designed to prepare students to excel in graduate or professional arenas by providing coursework that expands intellectual horizons and enables participation in the challenges of research. Therefore students engage both in classroom and laboratory courses as well as research projects. The following will help you navigate the Honors requirements in MCB and identify some relevant courses. However, be sure to check the additional requirements of the Honors Program.

Freshman Year: Start exploring your research opportunities. The following courses are designed to introduce Honors students to research opportunities available in MCB, EEB, and PNB.

BIOL 1109: Topics in Modern Biology. This is a companion course to Biology 1108 (Principles of Biology II) and is taught by faculty in EEB. Readings, lectures, seminars, films and field trips exploring current developments in biology and their social and scientific implications. Meets 1 hour, once a week, 1 credit.

Sophomore Year: Complete sophomore Honors requirements. Enroll in honors sections of courses. These sections are designed to deepen and expand your understanding of the fundamental material. At least six of the upper-level (the 2000s or higher) honors credits earned in the major must be in traditionally offered classroom or laboratory courses.


BIOL 2289: Introduction to Undergraduate Research. This course is rotated among MCB, EEB, and PNB. The objective is to expose students to a diversity of researchers to facilitate choosing a lab in which to conduct their undergraduate research. 1 hour, once a week, 1 credit.

Make appointments to talk to faculty members about research possibilities. It is up to you to find a faculty member who will accept you into his or her research group. Hint: Read one or two relevant research papers prior to your meeting.

Junior Year: Identify a research area, join a research group and engage in a research project.

MCB 4989: Introduction to Honors Research. A laboratory research project carried on by the student under the guidance of a faculty member. The student is required to submit a brief report on the research findings at the end of the semester.  May be repeated for credit with change in topic. This is a variable credit course; usually, 3 – 4 hours of lab work per week represents 1 credit.

MCB 3189: Clinical Research Laboratory. After successful completion of MCB 3100, participation in a clinical research project at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center may be pursued. This is a 3-credit course that requires at least six hours per week at the medical center.

You are encouraged to enroll in MCB 4989 or MCB 3189 and to repeat it for credit as you pursue a research project. Only three of these credits can be applied to the required 12 upper-level honors credits.

Summer after Junior Year. Consider continuing your research project during the summer. Apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF).

Senior Year: Continue your research and prepare to write your thesis.

MCB 4997W: Honors Thesis. Required of Honors students. The Honors thesis must be read and approved by the thesis advisor and one other faculty member (either the student’s Honors advisor if different from the thesis advisor or a faculty member with expertise in the subject area of the thesis). Students are required to follow thesis guidelines and deadlines established by their advisor and the Honors office. A copy of the thesis is permanently filed in the Honors office.