HONORS IN THE MATH AND NATURAL SCIENCES
The objectives of Science Honors are to enhance the undergraduate education of students who are interested in a career in the mathematical and natural sciences by helping them choose a major, obtain early access to research opportunities, pursue a research project to a successful conclusion, and become participating members of the community of scholars at Queens College.
Work in Science Honors begins when students take the Science Honors Seminar (HMNS 101). The course acquaints students with the scientific method, library and computer research skills, and the research activities of faculty of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The Seminar is interdisciplinary; topics and problems that overlap the traditional areas in science are presented and discussed. The broad exposure to work in science helps students choose a major and mentor(s) for subsequent research courses (HMNS 102, 291, 391, and 398). The experience obtained in research courses helps students compete for research fellowships and other opportunities on and off campus.
Science Honors builds a sense of community. Students get to know each other during the Seminar course through roundtable discussions, by working together on hands-on exercises, and presenting a short seminar on their own research project. They learn about each other’s research during seminars presented in HMNS 102 and 398. The students have their own room, a pleasant environment that they can use to study, share research experiences, socialize, read, and use state-of-the-art computers. A social gathering of students and faculty is held to celebrate the end of the semester, acknowledge awards and fellowships received by students, and discuss topics that concern the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Work in Science Honors culminates when students present their research during the Senior Science Honors Seminar (HMNS 398). Although the research accomplishments of students are expected to vary widely, we expect that some highly motivated students will present their results in refereed publications and at scientific meetings. Work in Science Honors is acknowledged at two levels of accomplishment on a student’s transcript and by certificates that are presented at the Divisional Award Ceremony which follows Commencement.
Students enter the program in one of two ways: as freshmen entering from high school with an outstanding record in mathematics and science or later, on the basis of their work at the College. Students who do outstanding work in one or more of the basic courses offered by departments in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences are invited to participate in Science Honors. These students are nominated by faculty who teach these courses. Self-nominated students are also considered for admission based on their record at the College and demonstrated potential for work in mathematics and science.
The 12-credit program consists of the following courses. Please note: HMNS 101, 102, and 398 may only be taken once; HMNS 291 or 391 may be taken multiple times for credit.
101. Science Honors Seminar. 2 hr.; 2 cr. Prereq.: Admission to the Science Honors Program. Examination of the scientific method, introduction to library and computer research skills, discussion of modern research problems with emphasis on research done at Queens College, and introduction to undergraduate research opportunities in the mathematical and natural sciences at Queens College. For freshmen and sophomores.
102. Introduction to Science Honors Research and Seminar. 6 hr.; 2 cr. Prereq.: HMNS 101. Students begin a research project mentored by a science department faculty member. Students usually choose a research topic and mentor during 101 based on presentations by faculty and proposals for projects submitted by faculty. The equivalent of 6 hours of laboratory work is scheduled in consultation with the mentor. Students describe their project in a report and present a seminar. For upper freshmen and sophomores.
291.1-3. Intermediate Science Honors Research. Three similar courses varying in credit: 291.1, 3 hr.; 1 cr., 291.2, 6 hr.; 2 cr., and 291.3, 9 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: HMNS 102 and permission of director. Students who take 101 and receive a SPUR Fellowship or complete an approved research project at another institution do not have to take 102. The intermediate stage of research with a science division faculty mentor or a mentor from a NYC-area research institution. In the latter case, the student must work as an unpaid volunteer. Students describe their research in a report. For sophomores and juniors.
391.1-3. Advanced Science Honors Research. Three similar courses varying in credits: 391.1, 3 hr.; 1 cr., 391.2, 6 hr.; 2 cr., and 391.3, 9 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: 3 credits of HMNS 291. The advanced stage of research with a science division faculty mentor. This course is aimed at the completion of a serious research effort. Work may involve additional data collection and analysis, preparation of results for publication and/or presentation at a scientific meeting. For juniors and lower seniors.
398. Senior Science Honors Seminar. 2 hr.; 2 cr. Prereq.: HMNS 391 or equivalent (a 3-credit 391-level research course in the student’s major department can substitute) and senior standing. Final analysis of experimental data and preparation of a comprehensive research report, presentation of a research seminar, and discussion of career opportunities in the mathematical and natural sciences.
Requirements for recognition of work in Science Honors at two levels of accomplishment: Participation and Concentration.
Participation in Science Honors
This requirement is met by completing 7 credits or more in the HMNS curriculum with an overall grade average of A– or better. The required courses include HMNS 101, 102 and 291 (for 3 or more credits). The HMNS 102 requirement will be waived for students who receive a SPUR Fellowship or complete a research project at another institution which is approved by the director. Research courses offered by departments in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences may substitute for 291 when they are approved by the Science Honors Faculty. Students will receive recognition on their transcript and a certificate at the Divisional Awards Ceremony.
Concentration in Science Honors
This requirement is met by completing 12 credits or more of courses in the HMNS curriculum with an overall grade average of A– or better, that is, HMNS 101, 102, 291 (for 3 or more credits), 391 (for 3 or more credits) and 398. The HMNS 102 requirement will be waived for students who receive a SPUR Fellowship or complete a research project at another institution which is approved by the director. Advanced research courses offered by departments in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (usually numbered in the 390s) may substitute for HMNS 391 when they are approved by the Science Honors faculty. Students will receive recognition on their transcript and a certificate at the Divisional Awards Ceremony.
Articulation with Other Honors Programs
Science Honors students are encouraged to participate in other Honors Programs at the College to the extent that this is possible given the heavy course loads of science majors and the 120-credit limit for all course work.