A biological sciences major with sufficiently high academic standing may graduate with departmental distinction by successfully completing a special program of study that includes advanced coursework, research and a senior thesis under the direction of a member of the departmental faculty. To graduate with departmental distinction, a student must be working toward a B.S. degree and must submit an application to the Undergraduate Studies Committee of the department. At the time of the application, the student must have begun a research project with a departmental faculty member, and must have completed at least 14 credit hours of biological sciences, including at least six advanced hours (3000 level and above), with a GPA in these courses of at least 3.500 and an overall GPA of at least 3.500. For students who have transferred to SMU, two grade point averages will be calculated: one for all work attempted and one for work completed through enrollment at SMU. Admission to the program will be based on the lower of the two averages.
With departmental approval, the student will enroll for BIOL 4398, and continue to work on the distinction research project. Upon completion of this course with a grade of B+ or better, the student has the option to enroll in BIOL 4399 (pass/fail). On the basis of this research project, an oral presentation will be made to the faculty, and a senior thesis or review article will be written. In addition, three 4000- or 5000-level courses must be completed: one from BIOL 4319, BIOL 4325, BIOL 4331, BIOL 4370, and at least two from BIOL 5304, BIOL 5305, BIOL 5310, BIOL 5311, BIOL 5325, BIOL 5340. Completion of these requirements and maintenance of a 3.500 GPA for all biological sciences courses attempted will determine if the B.S. degree will be awarded with departmental distinction.