Undergraduate Programs


Graduating with Distinction in Biology

In an effort to provide special recognition to students who have excelled in their academic program and engaged in high impact practices (as defined by NSSE), the Department of Biology will confer degrees “with distinction” that will appear on their transcripts and diplomas upon graduation.

To be eligible, students will earn a 3.0 GPA in the courses required for a Biology BA or BS (excluding other courses outside the major) and participate in three of the high-impact practices listed below. These practices are positively associated with student learning and retention and can be life changing (Kuh, 2008). Each of the activities below requires learning outside of the classroom, meaningful interactions with faculty, career mentors or students, collaboration with diverse others, and substantive feedback. You can use products from 3 and 4 can be used for 6.  You need three high-impact practices out of at least two of the following categories. The combination of activities will be approved by your advisor and the Head of the Department of Biology.

  1. Biology Related Service-Learning – Participate in outreach activity or a community-based project as a part of a Biology course or a club officer for a minimum of 10 hours.
  2. Learning Community - Participate in a learning community or some other formal program with a biology focus where groups of students take two or more classes together (e.g., Sustainability Learning Community).
  3. Research with Faculty - Work with a faculty member on a research project (UROP, BURST, research for credit, faculty-funded independent research project, independent volunteer research project).
  4. Internship or Field Experience - Participate in an internship, Biology Department work experience, co-op, or clinical placement.
  5. Study Abroad - Participate in a study abroad program with a focus on biology.
  6. Culminating Senior Experience – Write a thesis on undergraduate research or a topic related to a high-impact experience and its relationship to their future career. Such as a review paper as a component of the Duluth Journal of Undergraduate Biology.
  7. Student teaching experience - Participation BIOL 3993, Supplemental Instruction, serving as a Learning Assistant for the Biology Department, Biology tutor in the Tutoring Center

Students will be notified by the Department of Biology during the Spring and Fall semesters to apply to receive "with distinction" on their diploma.