The Honors College at the University of Maine

The Honors College at the University of MaineThe Honors College (HC), established in 2002, is one of six colleges that compose the University of Maine (UMaine), and the only one focused entirely on undergraduates. As an undergraduate institution that is a component of a university that includes a graduate school that confers doctoral degrees in one or more sciences, the HC is part of the INBRE undergraduate network.

The HC’s mission is to provide an enriching environment for undergraduate students who are among the most academically motivated and talented, to enhance their college experiences through a curriculum that is intellectually challenging and engaging. The HC seeks to involve students, faculty members, and staff members from across UMaine in a community of scholars who together explore questions within and beyond their various disciplines.

The approximately eight hundred students in the HC have “dual citizenship,” majoring in one of the degree-granting colleges of UMaine while completing their Honors curriculum. These students complete their undergraduate work by writing an Honors thesis working closely with an advisor in their major discipline.

Through the INBRE grant, the Honors College is able to provide students in biology and biomedical sciences with outstanding research opportunities and special course offerings to add to their core curriculum. More information is available on the Honors website.

Junior Year Research Awards

Stipends are available to third-year Honors College students who will work with biomedical research scientists on a research project in comparative functional genomics, chosen by the student in consultation with his/her mentor. The awards will be granted competitively based on applications judged by a faculty composed of INBRE faculty. Three Junior Year Research Awards will be made annually. Applications will be due at the end of September for that academic year, and must be accompanied by a letter from the faculty mentor overseeing the project.

Summer Research Fellowships

Two INBRE Summer Research Fellowships pair individual students from the Honors College with a federally-funded biomedical researcher of the student’s choice for a 10-week hands-on summer research experience. Funding is provided for lodging, food, and supplies. Applications are due in January for the following summer and must be accompanied by a transcript and two letters of recommendation from faculty members. Students must be in good standing in the Honors College.

Honors Senior Thesis Fellowships

Six thesis Fellowships are available to Honors College students in their senior year who will work on Honors theses in biomedical research in comparative functional genomics with research scientists either at UMaine or elsewhere. The fellowships will be awarded competitively each year by a faculty committee, based on applications which are due at the end of September for that academic year. Students must be in good standing in Honors and must submit a research proposal along with a letter from their mentor. Small awards will also be provided to thesis advisors to support research supplies.

Honors Course at the MDI Biological Laboratory

Through the Honors College spring-break-week laboratory course, HON 350, students gain hands-on scientific experience working with outstanding scholars at an internationally renowned research institution. Participants in “Functional Genomics of Membrane Transport” spend their time at the MDI Biological Laboratory immersed in the scientific environment: living on-site and working in the lab, attending classes and interacting with researchers in a scientific community. Students have described the one-week training as “vacation time” well spent!

Honors 150/155 Course at UMaine

The Honors College along with the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (MBMS) sponsored the development of the HON 150/155 courses, designed to give an intensive first year research experience to about 16 Honors students. Developed by Professor Emeritus Keith Hutchison (MBMS) and NSFA-Honors Preceptor of Genomics Sally Molloy (Honors & MBMS), these courses are based on the SEA-PHAGES curriculum pioneered by Graham Hatfull and collaborators under the sponsorship of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance.