Honors in IBEAM


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 through the 7th semester (60% A’s or “S with Distinction” in the 21 required courses in engineering ScB, as declared in ASK) (NOTE: S with Distinction is not visible on the Brown transcript or in ASK, please inquire with the Registrar or Student Affairs)

  2. Propose and execute an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty member

  3. Complete a written thesis to the satisfaction of the Honors Program Committee

  4. Give a scientific/technical presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium (Schedule TBD)

  5. Fulfill all deadlines for applying for or completing honors to the satisfaction of his/her research advisor and the Honors Program Committee

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.  

The application must be submitted in September 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 early October.

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 grades for admission to the Engineering Honors Program is 60% A’s or “S with Distinction”  based on concentration coursework through the seventh semester.

Note that:

  • Due to COVID-19, students have the option to NOT count their concentration coursework from Spring 2020 towards honors. If students choose this option, NONE of the grades from concentration coursework in Spring 2020 will be included in the percentage calculation.

  • We will calculate the percentage of A’s and “S with Distinction” in courses that are required to satisfy engineering concentration requirements, as listed on your approved engineering concentration form. It is important to make sure that your concentration form is up-to-date at the time of application. Humanities courses are not included in the calculation.

  • We will calculate the percentage of A’s and “S with Distinction” in courses at the beginning of the fall semester of senior year to determine acceptance into the program (The percentage may be slightly below 60%  if the seventh semester is expected to bring it above the threshold).

  • Courses not taken at Brown will not be included in the percentage calculation.

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 Honors 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: 

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 14

Honors Information Session
4 pm
Intended for all sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in honors
September 30 Honors Application Due
October 14 Applicants are informed of tentative acceptance into the Honors Program
November 11 Thesis proposal due \ Advisor approval form due
March 3 Draft of two sections of thesis due
Name of confirmed reader due to Honors Program Committee (text entry via canvas)
April 14 Complete thesis submitted to advisor and reader for review
April 28 Final Thesis submission and signed cover page by advisor and reader due to Canvas by 5:00 pm
May 5 Undergraduate Research Symposium