Each year, the School of Health Sciences selects a small group of exceptional incoming first-year students with majors in the School of Health Sciences to participate in its honors research program. Candidates have demonstrated high scholastic ability, intellectual curiosity and a persistent pursuit of learning.

As a School of Health Sciences honors research student, you receive unique growth opportunities through:

  • An individualized research project with a faculty member or experienced health professional
  • A first-year fall seminar, exclusive to first-year honors students or sophomore students new to the program
  • Academic credit for participating in the project and seminar
  • A chance to communicate with upperclassmen in the School of Health Sciences Honors Program during the spring seminar
  • Peer mentoring with an outstanding junior or senior

The School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program gives you an opportunity to work alongside internationally respected faculty as you learn how to apply the scientific method to real-world challenges in health and well-being.

Application Requirements

To be eligible for the honors program, you must be an incoming first-year or sophomore student enrolled in one of the School of Health Sciences majors.

Application materials include an application form and an autobiographical essay. The essay should include information about your academic and career interests and goals, your interest in gaining research experience, your extracurricular and community activities, and other items as indicated on the application form. 

Applications will be considered beginning June 15, and priority will be given to those who apply by this date, but applications will be accepted until August 1 or until the program is full. Admittance into the program is selective, and applications will be competitively reviewed.

This program is separate from the John Martinson Honors College. If you received an invitation to also be part of the John Martinson Honors College, you can participate in both programs, as the focus of the HSCI Undergraduate Honors Research Program is different than that of the Honors College.

Criteria and Selection

This honors program requires that you maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater. Each spring, sophomore, junior and senior honors students compete in the Purdue University Undergraduate Research Conference.

Contact Information

HSCI Honors Program Director:

Aaron Bowman, PhD

Professor and Head, School of Health Sciences

Course Information

Fall Seminar Course: HSCI 19501 (Freshman Honors Seminar Course)

In the fall semester, you will enroll in one credit hour of HSCI 19501. This fall seminar course is only open to first-year students in the honors program to help you familiarize yourself with the School of Health Sciences and Purdue University. During the fall semester, through presentations by health sciences faculty and student initiatives, you will establish your honors project for the following spring semester and be matched with a faculty mentor.

Spring Seminar Course: HSCI 19501 (Freshman Honors Seminar Course)

You will enroll in one credit hour of HSCI 19501 in the spring semester. During the spring semester, all students in the School of Health Sciences Honors Program will attend the same seminar. You will give a presentation to update your progress on your honors project. In addition, various topics will be discussed throughout the semester.

Spring Honors Project Course: HSCI 19601 (Freshman Honors Project Course)

During the spring semester, you will also enroll in one credit hour of HSCI 19601. You will earn course credit for the work you complete on your project under the supervision of your assigned faculty and/or professional mentor. Faculty mentor matches and projects will be established during the fall semester. You should plan to work on your project three to four hours per week. Hours are to be arranged between you and your faculty mentor, with at least weekly or biweekly meeting times set aside for a one-on-one session between you and your faculty mentor. You may also be matched to a professional mentor offcampus, depending on your interests and future goals. The regular meeting times should be set up during the first week of classes each semester. Working hours must not conflict with other course obligations or consume too much of your study time.

Overview of academic career course enrollment with active participation in the School of Health Sciences Honors Program:

First-Year Student — Fall HSCI 19501
First-Year Student — Spring HSCI 19501, HSCI 19601
Sophomore — FallHSCI 29601
Sophomore — SpringHSCI 29501, HSCI 29601
Junior — FallHSCI 39601
Junior — SpringHSCI 39501, HSCI 39601
Senior — FallHSCI 49601
Senior — SpringHSCI 49501, HSCI 49601

Information for Students

Grading Policy

You will be assigned a grade on a pass/not pass basis for HSCI 19501 and HSCI 19601 in the respective semesters for which you are enrolled. The School of Health Sciences Honors Program coordinator will assign a grade for the seminar course (HSCI 19501) based on classroom presentations and assignments, while the faculty mentors will complete an evaluation form and coordinate with the School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program coordinator to assign a grade for your work in HSCI 19601.

Project Expectations

General Expectations

  1. The project assignment should be mutually agreed upon by you and your faculty mentor.
  2. A definite direction or purpose should be established with stated goals and objectives. Goals and objectives do not have to be large but should be of some value to you and your faculty mentor. A definite plan should be in place at the end of the fall semester.
  3. Contact and meeting times should be clear between you and your faculty mentor. You are recommended to check in with your mentor once a week to biweekly.
  4. You and your faculty mentor are free to be as creative as possible with your project and assignments but are welcome to request assistance from the School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program coordinator in this process.
  5. Each faculty mentor-student team is required to provide the coordinator with a written project description form and to fill out and return any evaluation forms that are distributed.
  6. You and your faculty mentors are expected to contact the coordinator when any problem or question develops in fulfilling your obligations under the program.

Possible Activities Associated with the Project

Projects may include any or all of the following:

  • Laboratory or field research
  • Assistance in professional practice
  • Observations at clinics, research laboratories, professional activities in the community, school systems or media facilities
  • Directed readings related to the project or the overall field of study.
  • Discussions individually with the professor, with graduate students or with other professionals
  • Attendance at graduate research group meetings

Expectations of the HSCI Honors Research Program Students

  1. Take the initiative and responsibility for your assignment. The success of your experience will depend on the effort you are willing to make toward achieving your personal goals.
  2. You are expected to finish your assignment each semester, even though you may decide you are no longer interested in that particular area. The same high-quality work, which was the basis for your selection to the program, will be expected.
  3. Recognize that the professors and professionals you work with are humans who can make errors and may not be able to read your mind.
  4. Make suggestions and influence the direction of your own experiences.
  5. Take an equal part in building a positive relationship with your peer mentor. Contact your peer mentor at least every two weeks.
  6. Maintain a 3.0 GPA while in the program.

Beyond the First Year

  1. To maintain active status in the School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program, you will continue your project into your sophomore, junior and senior years with your faculty mentor and will enroll in one credit hour of HSCI 29601, 39601 or 49601 (based on respective year) each semester (every fall and spring semester) you are actively working on your project. Each semester, all faculty mentor-student teams are required to provide the coordinator with a written description of project form and to fill out and return any evaluation forms that are distributed.
  2. Upperclassmen in the honors program will be required to enroll in the honors seminar course (HSCI 29501, 39501 or 49501, based on respective year) each spring semester for one credit hour. All students will present a project update to all other students in the honors program during the seminar course.
  3. Moreover, upperclassmen in the honors program may be called upon to serve as peer mentors for the first-year honors students.

It is realized that during the course of the college years and participation in the School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program, a student’s major and/or research interest may change. If this occurs, students are encouraged to meet with the honors program coordinator to discuss their new major and/or research interests for the best course of action for future work.

Information for Faculty

Project Expectations of Faculty Mentors

  1. Encourage and challenge the students.
  2. Remember that the student, although very accomplished, is still a college student with considerable time demands. Be supportive.
  3. Spend quality time with the student on a regular and established basis.
  4. Remember that the student may change his/her mind about a particular area and may need help and direction with this change.
  5. Be realistic about the amount of time it will take for your student to accomplish the established goals. Three to four hours per week is a reasonable amount of time for the student to spend on the project.
  6. Allow yourself to be as creative as you like in making this a valuable experience for you and the student.
  7. If possible, communicate explicit (e.g., written) expectations and deadlines to the student.
  8. Please seek the assistance of the coordinator if any problems arise.
  9. Please provide feedback to the coordinator on potential improvements to the program.

Information for Peer Mentors

Peer mentors are upperclassmen often in the same major as the freshman honors students. They are chosen by the School of Health Sciences Honors Research Program coordinator and academic advisors on the basis of superior academic performance as well as their service and leadership activities at Purdue University.

Project Expectations of Peer Mentors

  1. Contact your student before classes start, if possible.
  2. Meet your student the first week of classes.
  3. Help your student get acclimated to college.
  4. Be a friend to your student throughout the year. Get together for dinner, a movie, sports event, etc.
  5. Encourage your student to become involved health sciences-related clubs and organizations and other Purdue activities. If possible, attend these activities with your student.