Honors in BME


Note, if you are a non-BME concentrator interested in pursuing the Engineering Honors Program, visit: http://www.brown.edu/academics/engineering/honors

According to the Brown University Faculty Rules, “The University shall, at graduation, grant Honors to students whose work in a field of concentration has demonstrated superior quality and culminated in an Honors Thesis of Distinction.”  

Honors recipients in Biomedical Engineering must meet the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrate a strong academic record (3.40 concentration GPA through the 7th semester)
  2. Propose and execute an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty member
  3. Fulfill all deadlines mentioned below to the satisfaction of his/her research advisor and the Honors Program Committee
  4. Complete a written thesis to the satisfaction of the Honors Program Committee, his/her research advisor, and a reader who is familiar with the BME honors candidate’s field of research
  5. Give a scientific/technical talk at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in April

Preparation for Honors:
It is highly recommended that a thesis advisor and Honors research project be identified prior to the start of the senior year.  This is the responsibility of the student.  Students who wish to complete an honors thesis should ideally begin communication with a potential advisor junior year, or earlier.  Many students perform research over the summer before senior year although this is not required.

Students who are having difficulty finding a research advisor may wish to schedule a meeting with the BME Honors Committee Chair to discuss specific ways to identify a project and advisor.  It is never too early to begin thinking about the process, and students of all levels are invited to attend the Honors Information Session in September posted on the calendar below.

Application Process:

Students may apply for admission to the BME Honors Program by filling out the Honors Program Application Form Class of 2019.  

The application must be submitted by Sept 25th of the student’s senior year.  At this time the student must have a faculty member who will act as his/her honors thesis advisor for the academic year.  In cases of cross-disciplinary research students may be co-advised, so long as one faculty member is Engineering and/or Biomedical Engineering.  Students will be informed of their acceptance into the program by Oct 9th.

Note, these deadlines are intended for students graduating in 4 years.  Students with different graduation timelines, who would like to pursue BME Honors, should contact the BME Honors Committee Chair to discuss alternative plans.

Admission Requirements:

The minimum grade point average for admission to the BME Honors Program is 3.4/4.0 on graded concentration coursework through the 7th semester.  This GPA will be calculated based on the courses that are required to satisfy engineering concentration requirements and which are listed on the applicant’s approved engineering concentration form.  Candidates are responsible for ensuring their concentration form is up-to-date at the time of application.  Courses not taken at Brown and/or not taken for a grade will not be included in the GPA calculation.  BME Honors candidates must not have more than 3 concentration classes taken for S/NC, including the final semester of study and including ENGN 0030 but not including the four humanities.  Transfer credits are not counted towards the 3.  Any pending INCs must be carefully explained and are generally not favorable for admission.

The GPA will be calculated at the beginning of the fall semester to determine acceptance into the program (GPA may be slightly below 3.4 if the 7th semester is expected to bring it above the threshold).  A final GPA calculation will be computed at the end of the 7th semester to determine if the student meets the academic requirements. 

A student not fully meeting the admission criteria described above may petition the Honors Committee for consideration of other evidence of academic accomplishments, such as significant project work completed in collaboration with a faculty member.  One or more letters of recommendation from faculty should accompany such a petition, which may be referred to the Concentration Committee for a final decision.

Once Admitted to the BME Honors Program:

Admission to the BME Honors Program does not guarantee that a student will receive Honors upon graduation.  Recommendation for this distinction by the School of Engineering requires that the candidate continue to demonstrate academic excellence throughout their senior year.

Once admitted to the BME Honors Program, it is expected that the BME honors candidate will work closely and diligently with his/her advisor and/or research lab throughout the year.  The candidate’s thesis advisor will make recommendations to the Honors Committee regarding progress towards achieving the honors thesis requirements, in addition to any other goals the research advisor has outlined for the student.

A BME honors candidate is expected to make progress towards a written thesis throughout the year.  There is a thesis proposal due in the fall that clearly outlines the goals and significance of the research, and distinguishes it from any other coursework, capstone project, or group work that the applicant is currently involved in. A list of the major deadlines for the BME Honors Program is provided below.  Failure to meet any of the listed deadlines to the satisfaction of the Honors Program Committee and/or the student’s research advisor is grounds for dismissal from the BME Honors Program.

Choosing a Reader:

In addition to a research advisor, each BME honors candidate must also ask an expert in his or her field of research to be a “reader.”  The reader’s responsibilities are to read the written thesis, attend the student’s presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and offer general guidance in both these areas.  The reader is commonly a member of the faculty, but this is not a requirement so long as they are fully capable of assessing the student’s research.  The honors thesis advisor oftentimes helps candidates decide on an appropriate reader.  However, it is the honors candidate’s responsibility to approach potential readers by clearly communicating the thesis topic and outlining the reader’s responsibilities.  A confirmed reader is due to the Honors Committee in March.

Undergraduate Research Symposium:

Students will be required to present their research in an oral presentation at a research symposium at the end of their 8th semester.  Details will be provided at the beginning of the 8th semester.

Important Deadlines:  2019-2020 BME Honors Program

For those students pursuing a non-4 year degree that wish to complete BME Honors, please schedule a meeting with the BME Honors Committee Chair and an alternative plan can likely be constructed.


September 18

Honors Information Session
6:00 pm, Barus & Holley 190
Intended for all sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in honors
September 24 Honors Application Due
October 8 Applicants are informed of acceptance into the Honors Program
November 8 Research proposal due
January 21 Honors Program Committee will inform candidates if they are to continue with the Honors Program (based on 7th semester GPA, research proposal, and advisor's sign-off)
March 14 Draft of two sections of thesis due
Name of confirmed reader due to Honors Program Committee (text entry via canvas)
April 15 Thesis submission for review by advisor, reader, and Honors Program Committee
April 24 Undergraduate Research Symposium
April 28 Final deadline for approved thesis submission with signed cover page, due by 9 am.