What is Department Honors?

The Department of MIMG’s Department Honors program provides outstanding students interested in research with the opportunity to benefit from the close mentorship of a faculty member in the department. The 3 quarter advanced research experience will result in the student completing an honors thesis inspired by the work and results of their own research.


To receive departmental honors in MIMG, the candidate must:

  • be an MIMG student.
  • complete three consecutive quarters of MIMG 198A-B-C (individual honors research) in the lab of an MIMG faculty member (must be completed by Winter quarter of 4th year)
  • complete MIMG 191H in the winter of their fourth year (a 2-unit seminar class)
  • have a GPA of at least 3.5 in the upper division major courses at the time of graduation
  • write a comprehensive thesis, to be approved by the Faculty Honors Advisor:

Faculty Honors Advisor:
Dr. Jeffrey H. Miller
437 Boyer Hall
email: jhmiller@microbio.ucla.edu

Once approved to join the program

The student will be enrolling in MIMG 198A, B, C for three consecutive quarters. Please read carefully the following information carefully.  All of the following requirements supercede any other information found elsewhere.

Before beginning the first quarter of MIMG 198, the student must:

  • Have experience in the lab of an MIMG faculty member (non-MIMG faculty are not allowed, no exceptions).  Experience consists of SRP 99, MIMG 99, MIMG 199, or from volunteer work.
  • Have a GPA of 3.2+ in pre-major courses and at least 3.5 in the major, upper division courses.
  • Set up an appointment to meet with Faculty Honors Advisor, Dr. Jeffrey H. Miller, to discuss the proposed project. Because the student has already been working in the lab, the student should have an idea of what will be researched.  Dr. Miller must sign the Honors Application (available from the Student Affairs Officer via email (undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu), indicating his approval for the student to join the program.
  • Enrollment requires a contract, just like SRP and MIMG 199.  Contracts can be generated through MyUCLA, under “Contract Courses”.
  • Contracts must be filled out, signed by the mentor, and submitted to the Student Affairs Officer via email for every quarter of 198.  There is no “automatic enrollment”.
  • The Department Chair does not need to sign the contract, ever. 
  • Contracts are due by Friday of the second week of classes at 1:00pm.
  • All 198 contracts must include a thoughtful and well-described proposal for research, to be approved by the Department.  The proposal is written by the student with the guidance of the mentor.
  • When submitting the 198A contract, the student must also include the Honors Application, signed by Dr. Miller, and a current degree audit report signed by the mentor.

MIMG 198

  • For 198A and 198B, a progress report, in the form of a rough draft/working draft of the thesis (see below), must be submitted to the mentor and to the Student Affairs Officer by Friday of Finals week.  No such report is needed at the end of 198C, to allow the student to work on the thesis.
  • The mentor grades the research (198A, B, C) of the student.  Whether or not the mentor uses the report as basis for a grade is at his/her discretion.  The student should inquire about this before starting 198A.
  • The final thesis must be approved by Dr. Miller.

What about Path 2?

  • Students who are in Path 2, or enter Path 2, while doing Departmental Honors should enroll in the 198 series, not 196, so that their transcripts reflect the Honors research.
  • See the Student Affairs Officer for more information.

The honors Thesis should adequately describe the research carried out during the three quarters of honors work.  The paper should be in the format of a journal paper, please use the format of the Journal of Molecular Biology.  The thesis should have the following sections:

  1. Title
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Experimental Design
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Materials and Methods
  8. Future Experiments
  9. References
  • The paper should reflect only the student’s own experiments and should be written completely by the student (a copy of a multi-authored publication or paper submitted for publication cannot substitute for an honors Thesis).
  • The paper should also include figures, tables, and legends to both.
  • The Introduction section should be a short review of the field of study, and is a minimum of 1500 words.
  • The Discussion section and Future Experiments section are a combined minimum of 1500 words.
  • It is not a requirement that experiments work or yield a publishable result.  It is important to analyze the experiments, and particularly in the case where few results were obtained, to suggest future experiments that might shed light on the problem.  The Experimental Design section and the Future Experiments section are important for demonstrating an understanding of the experimental system.
  • The Introduction and Discussion should demonstrate a knowledge of the larger field, and represent a mini-review of the topic of the paper.
  • The References should include the names of all authors, the journal, beginning and end pages, and the full titles of the articles.
  • The Thesis must be signed by the mentor. All signed theses must be turned in to the Faculty Honors Advisor, Dr. Jeffrey H. Miller, no later than MAY 15th of the Senior (last) year.  The Thesis must receive final approval from Dr. Miller for the student to receive departmental honors. Please feel free to discuss your honors thesis with Dr. Miller at any time.

MIMG 191H, taught by Dr. Jeffrey H. Miller each Winter quarter, is a seminar course that involves reading, discussion, and presentation of current research topics.  Students must be in their Senior (last) year to enroll in 191H.

At least 8 units of research, and 2 units from MIMG 191H.

  • Three consecutive quarters of honors research must be completed in the same sponsor’s lab. Spring and Fall are considered consecutive quarters. Summer quarter does not count (but optional if the faculty agrees).
  • Students are expected to work in the lab 12-16 hours per week, per quarter. The student and mentor will decide upon a schedule that works for both of them.
  • Students are not allowed to enroll in 198 in the same research laboratory in which they are working for pay. Exceptions to this rule require prior approval by the Faculty Undergraduate Advisor.