Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Standards

Mathematics Placement

Mathematics, in the form of calculus or statistics, is required for all natural sciences degrees. To enroll in a calculus or statistics course in the college, students must first take the mathematics placement exam. Scores necessary for placement into specific mathematics and statistics courses are posted by the Student Division. More information about scores and course placement is available from academic advisers.

Repetition of a Course

No student may enroll in any course in the College of Natural Sciences more than twice, even if the course is needed to meet degree requirements, without first obtaining the written consent of his or her major adviser and of the department that offers the course; students in colleges other than the College of Natural Sciences need only departmental approval. A symbol of Q or W counts as an enrollment unless it has been approved by the dean’s office for nonacademic reasons.

A student may not repeat any course in which he or she has earned a grade of C- or better.

Departments in the college may have additional requirements for students who repeat courses.

Concurrent Enrollment

Concurrent enrollment is enrollment simultaneously at the University and at another educational institution or in University Extension. Math and science courses may not be taken concurrently during fall and spring semesters and will not be counted toward a degree unless they are specifically approved in advance by the College of Natural Sciences. The college permits concurrent enrollment during summers without prior approval and during fall and spring semesters with certain restrictions. Students must see their academic advisers to petition for approval. No more than 30 percent of the semester hours required for any degree in the college may be completed online with University Extension.

Undergraduates in a Graduate Course

The College of Natural Sciences encourages undergraduates who excel academically and would benefit from further challenges to enroll in graduate courses. With permission, undergraduates may count graduate courses toward their undergraduate degrees or may reserve them for graduate credit. To enroll in a graduate course, undergraduates must meet the University’s eligibility requirements and must receive permission from the course instructor, the graduate adviser for the field in which the course is offered, and the college. Undergraduates reserving courses for graduate credit must also receive permission from the graduate dean. More information is given in Coursework in the Graduate School and the School of Law.

Petitions for Degree Requirements

Petitions for exceptions to degree requirements, other than the University-wide core curriculum, are handled through an online petition system. Academic advisers initiate petitions on the student’s behalf and route them through departmental faculty advisers. The most common reason for petitioning is to request the substitution of transfer coursework for a specific degree requirement. Final decisions on all petitions are made by the dean’s office. Degree requirements are very rarely waived outright.

Honors

There are several avenues available for undergraduates to achieve honors recognition for exemplary academic ability and performance. They include: University-wide Honors, graduation with University Honors, college-wide honors programs, departmental honors degree options, and completion of departmental honors. University-wide Honors consists of recognition each fall and spring for students who meet the university criteria for University Honors. Graduation with University Honors consists of recognition at the time of graduation to a percentage of the college’s graduates for students who meet the University criteria for graduating with University Honors.

The College of Natural Sciences offers Bachelor of Science and Arts and Bachelor of Science honors degree options. These honors degrees are available to students in the Dean’s Scholars Program, the Health Science Scholars Program, and the Polymathic Scholars Program. Each program has its own admission process and requirements for participants to remain in good standing. The College of Natural Sciences Honors Center is available for inquires about admission and requirements.

Honors degree options that are sponsored by departments include: Turing Scholars in Computer Science; Honors in Advanced Human Development and Family Sciences Program; and the Honors in Advanced Nutritional Sciences Program.

Lastly, students may earn departmental honors upon graduation through completion and approval of an undergraduate thesis.

University Honors

Information relating to University Honors can be found in the General Information Catalog. In addition, the College of Natural Sciences encourages academic excellence through programs such as the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program and Turing Scholars in Computer Science. Students may also graduate with departmental honors as described below and may earn membership in one or more of the honorary scholastic societies open to undergraduates.

Graduation with University Honors

The University recognizes no more than the top 20 percent of each college’s May graduating class as graduating with University Honors. To be eligible, an undergraduate must have completed at least 60 semester hours of coursework in residence at the University. Graduation with University Honors is based on the average of all grades earned in courses taken in residence at the University, whether the courses were passed, failed, or repeated. Courses taken pass/fail are counted in the sixty-hour minimum, but only letter grades (including F in pass/fail courses) are used to determine the grade point average.

Detailed requirements for graduation from the College of Natural Sciences with University Honors are given in the General Information Catalog.

Dean’s Scholars Honors Program

The Dean’s Scholars Honors Program is a comprehensive honors degree program for highly motivated and talented students. The key features of the program are a first-semester research methods course; a breadth requirement, usually completed during the first four semesters, that exposes students to various forms of scientific inquiry; and at least two semesters of supervised research and writing that culminate in an honors thesis. Students in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program may follow the honors option for the appropriate bachelor of science degree. The honors degree option is available in most fields in the college.

Application to the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available in the program office and on the Dean's Scholars website. Students may enter the program as freshmen, as transfer students, or after they have enrolled at the University. In general, students who have completed more than 50 semester hours of college coursework are not considered for admission.

Factors in the admission decision are the student’s high school and/or University grades, class rank, the rigor of the courses the student has taken, the quality of the required application essays, faculty recommendations, and the student’s interest and aptitude in math and science as demonstrated by relevant extracurricular activities.

To remain in good standing in the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program, students must maintain an in-residence grade point average of at least 3.25 after 30 hours in residence, of at least 3.40 after 60 hours in residence, and of at least 3.50 after 90 hours in residence. Students who fail to maintain the required grade point average will usually be dismissed from the program. Under special circumstances and at the discretion of the departmental honors adviser, a student may be allowed to continue under academic review.

Health Science Scholars Program

The Health Science Scholars Program is intended for students whose interest in science
is focused on clinical careers and healthcare practice or policy. Health Science Scholars pursue a Bachelor of Science and Arts honors degree and complete a major in a field of study within the College of Natural Sciences, as well as an interdisciplinary minor which complements their scientific interest and prepares them for health professions, policy, or business. Students complete a departmental honors thesis, or a health-related internship/practicum and a thesis that synthesizes and analyzes scholarly literature related to the internship/practicum. 

Application to the Health Science Scholars Program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available on the Health Science Scholars website.

Polymathic Scholars Program

The Polymathic Scholars Program is designed for students with a strong interest in the sciences, but who also have strong scholarly interests beyond their major. Polymathic Scholars design an interdisciplinary minor field of study—a field defined by the students’ interests and limited only by their ability to engage them as a scholar. The interdisciplinary minor is an opportunity for the student to explore the impacts of their field of study or a completely different field of interest. Polymathic Scholars pursue a Bachelor of Science and Arts honors degree and complete a thesis that synthesizes and analyzes scholarly literature within their field of study. 

Application to the Polymathic Scholars Program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available on the Polymathic Scholars website.

Turing Scholars in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science offers a comprehensive honors degree program for highly motivated and talented students. The key features of the program are an intensive, accelerated freshman- and sophomore-year program; special Turing Scholars sections of many advanced computer science courses; a second-semester freshman-year course that introduces students to the research activities of the department; and at least two semesters of supervised research and writing. Upon completion of both a sequence of Turing Scholars courses, approved by the program director, and an approved thesis, students graduate as Turing Scholars in Computer Science.

Students in the Turing Scholars program pursue the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, option II. Application to the program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available in the Department of Computer Science and on the Turing Scholars website. Students may enter the program either as freshmen or after they have enrolled at the University. Factors in the admission decision are the student’s high school grades and class rank, the rigor of the courses the student has taken, the quality of the required application essays, and the student’s interest and aptitude in math, science, and computing as demonstrated by extracurricular activities.

More information about the degree program is given in the Degrees and Programs section.

Honors In Advanced Human Development and Family Sciences Program

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences offers a comprehensive honors degree program for highly motivated and talented students. The key features of the program are a core of small, select Human Development and Family Sciences courses that expose students to the research activities of the department, and at least two semesters of supervised research and writing that culminates in an honors thesis and presentation of student research in an approved public forum. Application to the Human Development and Family Sciences Honors Program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences and online. Students may enter the program as freshmen, as transfer students, or after they have enrolled at the University. Factors in the admission decision are the student’s high school and/or University grades, class rank, the rigor of the courses the student has taken, faculty recommendations, standardized test scores and the student’s interest and aptitude in math and science as demonstrated by relevant extracurricular activities.

More information about the degree program is given in the Degrees and Programs section.

Honors In Advanced Nutritional Sciences Program

The Department of Nutritional Sciences offers a comprehensive honors degree program for highly motivated and talented students. The key features of the program are a core of select nutrition courses that expose students to the research activities of the department; and at least two semesters of supervised research and writing that culminates in an honors thesis and presentation of student research in an approved public forum. Application to the Honors in Advanced Nutritional Sciences Program is separate from, and in addition to, application to the University. Application materials and information about deadlines are available in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and online. Students may enter the program as freshmen, as transfer students, or after they have enrolled at the University. Factors in the admission decision are the student’s high school and/or University grades, class rank, the rigor of the courses the student has taken, the quality of the required application essays, faculty recommendations, and the student’s interest and aptitude in math and science as demonstrated by relevant extracurricular activities.

More information about the degree program is given in the Degrees and Programs section.

College Honors

Departmental Honors 

Most departments in the College of Natural Sciences offer departmental honors programs to their majors. Minimum requirements for the completion of all such programs include (1) a University grade point average of at least 3.00; (2) a three-semester-hour thesis or research project, or a reasonable equivalent, with a grade of at least B-; some programs may require a higher grade; (3) completion, with a grade point average of at least 3.50, of the coursework required for a major in the field in which the student seeks honors; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

The statement “Special Honors in (name of field)” appears on the transcript of each graduate certified as having completed the honors program.

Astronomy Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in astronomy should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the fourth year; application by the end of the third year is recommended. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a combined University grade point average in physics and astronomy of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) Astronomy 379H, Honors Tutorial Course, in which the student completes a supervised research project; the student may take a second semester of Astronomy 379H if necessary to complete the project; two semesters in this course may be counted toward the major requirement; (2) a written report and oral presentation on the research project approved by the research supervisor and the honors adviser; (3) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a combined University grade point average in physics and astronomy of at least 3.50; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Biochemistry Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in biochemistry should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in biochemistry and chemistry of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry; (2) two semesters of Biochemistry 379H, Biochemistry Honors Tutorial Course; (3) a thesis and a presentation based on research; the research topic and the thesis must be approved by the supervising faculty member and the undergraduate faculty adviser; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in biochemistry and chemistry of at least 3.50; (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree; and (6) approval of the honors adviser.

Biology Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in biology should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in biology of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors, which are in addition to the requirements of the major, are (1) two semesters of Biology 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; (2) a thesis based on original research and approved by the supervising faculty member and the honors adviser; honors students in the human biology option must select both a thesis supervisor and a second reader, one of whom must be a tenure-track faculty member or senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences; (3) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in biology of at least 3.50; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Chemistry Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in chemistry should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in chemistry of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemistry; (2) two semesters of Chemistry 379H, Chemistry Honors Tutorial Course; (3) a thesis and a presentation based on research; the research topic and the thesis must be approved by the supervising faculty member and the undergraduate faculty adviser; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in chemistry of at least 3.50; (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree; and (6) approval of the honors adviser.

Computer Science Departmental Honors

Students seeking special departmental honors must meet with a faculty adviser at least two semesters before they plan to graduate to discuss potential research topics and the requirements for receiving special departmental honors.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) Computer Science 379H, Computer Science Honors Thesis, with a grade of at least B-; (2) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in computer science of at least 3.50; (3) a thesis, written on the subject of the student’s research and approved in comprehensive examination by a committee consisting of at least three faculty members, including the honors adviser; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Human Development and Family Sciences Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in human development and family sciences should apply to the Departmental Honors Committee for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. The requirements for admission are a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree. 

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences; (2) Human Development and Family Sciences 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; (3) completion of an honors thesis and an accompanying presentation, both of which must be approved by a committee consisting of the research supervisor and another faculty member; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00, a grade point average in Human Development and Family Sciences 379H of at least 3.00, and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree and for honors; and (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Human Ecology Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in human ecology must follow the requirements of the departmental honors program in human development and family sciences, nutrition, or textiles and apparel.

Mathematics Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in mathematics should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program at least two semesters before their expected graduation. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in mathematics of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) Mathematics 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; (2) a thesis on the subject of the student’s research or project approved in comprehensive examination by a committee consisting of at least three faculty members; (3) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in mathematics of at least 3.50; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree. In order to fulfill the first requirement, students must meet the prerequisite of Mathematics 379HMathematics 365C, 367K, 373K, or 374G with a grade of at least A-, and another of these courses with a grade of at least B-; and consent of the honors adviser.

Nutrition Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in nutrition should apply to the Departmental Honors Committee for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. The requirements for admission are a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nutrition; (2) Nutrition 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; this course may be repeated once for credit; (3) completion of an honors thesis and an accompanying presentation, both of which must be approved by a committee consisting of the research supervisor and another faculty member; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00, a grade point average in Nutrition 379H of at least 3.00, and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree and for honors; and (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Physics Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in physics should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program near the end of the third year. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in physics of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) Physics 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; (2) a written honors thesis approved by faculty readers assigned by the department; (3) a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in physics of at least 3.50; and (4) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Public Health Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek departmental honors in public health should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. Students are encouraged to apply as early as the beginning of the junior year. A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in public health of at least 3.50 are required for admission.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health; (2) two semesters of Public Health 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; (3) a thesis and presentation based on research and approved by the research supervisor and the honors adviser; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00, a grade point average in public health of at least 3.50, and grades of at least a B in Public Health 379H; and (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

Textiles and Apparel Departmental Honors

Majors who plan to seek special departmental honors in textiles and apparel should apply to the Departmental Honors Committee for admission to the honors program no later than the beginning of the senior year. The requirements for admission are a University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree.

The requirements for graduation with special departmental honors are (1) all requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Apparel; (2) Textiles and Apparel 379H, Honors Tutorial Course; this course may be repeated once for credit; (3) completion of an honors thesis and an accompanying presentation, both of which must be approved by a committee consisting of the research supervisor and another faculty member; (4) a University grade point average of at least 3.00, a grade point average in Textiles and Apparel 379H of at least 3.00, and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in coursework in the School of Human Ecology that is required for the degree and for honors; and (5) completion at the University of at least 60 semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.