Science and Technology Honors Program

Program Director: Diane C. Tucker, Ph.D.
Associate Directors: Joe L. March, Ph.D., and Joel Berry, Ph.D.
Program Manager: Clay Walls, B.A.

The Science and Technology Honors Program at UAB revolutionizes the undergraduate experience. Acceptance to the program places students in the company of fellow scholars and world-renowned researchers. Science and Technology Honors (STH) students take part in unique academic and research experiences specifically designed to give them a head start on a scientific or technical career.

This unique program is the only one of its kind in Alabama. It is designed for the best and brightest students whose academic and extracurricular achievements demonstrate intellectual curiosity, energy, creativity, and leadership abilities. As a graduate of the STH Program, a student is well prepared for graduate study at the Master’s or Doctoral level as well as for professional school.

Mission

To prepare scientific leaders of the next generation by engaging students in interdisciplinary classroom, leadership, and research experiences which culminate in the dissemination of new scientific knowledge.

Vision

  • UAB’s Science and Technology Honors Program will recruit a diverse group of talented undergraduate students, involve faculty from across the university as teachers and mentors, and provide a unique educational experience for students.
  • Through interdisciplinary courses and laboratory research experiences, students will be exposed to the power of integrating multidisciplinary approaches and will apply this perspective to research questions.
  • Science and Technology Honors students will be trained in scientific thinking and communication and will conduct and disseminate original research or scholarship under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
  • STHP graduates will be well prepared for graduate and professional study and will show evidence of leadership in academic, economic, and policy areas related to science and technology during their careers.

Benefits

Students in the STH Program work closely with research faculty and participate in original scientific research. During the first two years, the program prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need to get started in research. Beginning as early as the freshman or sophomore year, students work closely with a faculty mentor on an individualized project, learning about research through apprenticeship. STH students are encouraged to attend national conferences and to publish their research in scientific journals.

The program is a closely knit community with approximately 50 undergraduate students admitted each year. The small number encourages collaboration among students, interaction with faculty, and sharing of ideas. Students receive priority registration and take science and technology focused sections of core courses such as EH 202. In addition, STH students can earn graduate credit, providing an advantage when pursuing an advanced degree.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

STH students are required to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in their UAB undergraduate coursework through graduation. If a student's UAB GPA falls below 3.0, the student will have one year to raise his/her GPA to 3.0 or higher in order to remain in and complete the program.

Coursework

The academic portion of the Science and Technology Honors Program builds upon UAB’s research strengths in science and technology. Special interdisciplinary courses such as STH 199 Introduction to the Scientific Process and STH 299 Interdisciplinary Seminar examine topics from many scientific and technical perspectives, illustrating how scientists integrate multiple fields of study when approaching research and development questions.

Students discover the methodologies and techniques used in a variety of research areas, including biology, cell biology, chemistry, computer and information systems, engineering, neuroscience, psychology, physics, and more. In their STH 201 Research Approaches I and STH 202 Research Approaches II courses, students get hands-on experience in laboratory techniques and visit laboratories to observe researchers up close and in action.

Exclusive seminars put students face to face with UAB’s best known researchers who share their insights and experiences from the lab and the field. The entire curriculum is designed to encourage independent thinking, questioning of ideas, creative problem-solving, and skill in scientific communication. STH coursework also integrates seamlessly with honors programs in science and technology majors.

The program culminates in a two-year intensive research experience under the direction of UAB faculty. Students build upon the methods they have learned in their courses and seminars to propose and conduct an independent research project in collaboration with their faculty mentor. This project becomes the student’s Honors Thesis. The Honors Thesis is prepared for publication in a scientific journal and for presentation at a national conference. Thus, many STH students will both publish a scientific paper and present at a national conference before graduating from UAB. Students in the program must complete 30 hours of honors coursework, which includes 19 hours of Science and Technology Honors courses and at least 8 hours of independent research under the direction of a faculty mentor to complete their Honors Thesis research. Honors versions of many core courses have been developed and contribute to the 30 hours of honors credit required.

Who Should Apply

This program is best suited for students who are intensely curious about science and excited about the prospect of becoming a generator of new knowledge in their field. In addition to curiosity about science, successful applicants generally have a strong academic record and plan to pursue a career in science or technology. STH students typically have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their high school academic courses and ACT or SAT scores at or above the 90th percentile in math and science. Because the program values diversity and strives to accommodate talented students, applications are reviewed individually and invited applicants are personally interviewed.

Applications and letters of reference must be received by December 15th of the student’s senior year of high school. For more information on applying to the Honors College or its programs, visit http://www.uab.edu/honorscollege/.

STH Signature Courses

Each student in the program takes the following STH Program coursework during their first two years in the program to prepare for their independent research experience

STH 199 Introduction to the Scientific Process. Fall semester of freshman year. 2 credit hours. Students work in teams to analyze current scientific problems under investigation by UAB faculty, learning about how scientists approach problems and conduct their research, including ethics and institutional review of human and animal research.

STH 299 Interdisciplinary Seminar. Fall semester of sophomore year. 3 credit hours. This course illustrates the synergy achieved by interdisciplinary analysis of problems. Example topics include High Voltage Innovation, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Energy Generation and Conservation, Disorders of the Central Nervous System, and Forensic Science: The Science Behind CSI.

STH 201 Research Approaches I and STH 202 Research Approaches II. Spring semester of freshman and sophomore years. 3 credit hours each. Systematic training in foundational research methodologies and opportunity to application of the methods in research laboratories. Students choose among  biotechnology training, advanced chemical analysis, or engineering design and materials analysis in their freshman year and rotate through laboratories chosen to match their research interests in their sophomore year.

STH 301 Statistics and Design Overview. Spring semester of sophomore year. 3 credit hours. Introduction to principles of research design and statistical analysis, including a statistics laboratory for hands on experience. Students may satisfy the STH 301 requirement by earning credit for an equivalent statistics course approved by the STH program director, e.g., MA 180 or PY 216. Alternative credit through AP or IB is also acceptable.

Curriculum

To graduate with University Honors in Science and Technology, students must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of honors coursework including the following courses:

RequirementsHours
Seminars
STH 199Introduction to the Scientific Process2
STH 299Interdisciplinary Seminar3
Research Methods/Applications
STH 201Research Approaches I3
STH 202Research Approaches II a3
Scientific Communication/Technical Writing
EH 202English Composition II for Science and Technology Honors Student3
Statistics
STH 301Statistics and Design Overview b3
Honors Thesis Preparation
STH 395Honors Proposal Preparation1
STH 400Honors Thesis Preparation1
Honors Research
Minimum number of research hours required8
Undergraduate Research c
Honors Thesis Research c
Leadership/Innovation
STH 150Skills for Leadership and Innovation1
STH 151Problem Analysis and Project Planning1
STH 250PrimeTime Leadership1
Total Hours30

Footnotes

a

Students may satisfy the STH 202 requirement by having research experience in at least two laboratories and approval of the STH program director.

b

Students may satisfy the STH 301 requirement by earning credit for an equivalent statistics course approved by the STH program director including but not limited to MA 180 or PY 216. Alternative credit through AP and IB is also acceptable.

c

Students may also register for research credit under the equivalent course(s) in the department of their major, e.g., BY 398CH 497, BME 494, PY 398, NBL 398, PH 498, etc. These are interchangeable with STH 398 and STH 399 and are all counted as honors hours.

Optional STH Electives

RequirementsHours
STH 270Perspectives on Innovation3
STH 302Statistics/Design Overview Lab1
STH 310Communicating Science1-3
STH 350Next Level Leadership1-3
STH 396Internships/Comm Projects/SL1-3
STH 397Independent Study1-3

Proposed Program of Study for Science and Technology Honors Students

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
STH 1992STH 2013
STH 1501STH 1511
EH 202 (or EH 101/102)a, b3 
 6 4
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
STH 2993STH 2023
STH 2501STH 3013
 4 6
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
STH 398c2STH 3951
 STH 398c2
 2 3
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
STH 399c2STH 4001
 STH 399c2
 2 3
Total credit hours: 30

Explanation of Footnotes

a

If the student does not yet have credit for EH 101, then the student would take EH 101 in the fall semester of freshman year followed by a special STH section of EH 102 in the spring of the freshman year instead of EH 202.

b

If the student has credit for EH 101 but not EH 102, then the student would take a special STH section of EH 102 in the fall of the freshman year instead of EH 202.

c

Students must have a minimum of 8 research hours which can be comprised of any combination of STH 398, STH 399, and/or their departmental equivalents. Students may earn research credit in fall, spring, and/or summer semesters and decide how to distribute the hours across those semesters. All honors research credit applies to the 30 hours of honors credit needed to complete the program.

Courses

STH 100. Program Participation/SL. 1 Hour.

Service learning for Science and Technology Honors Program students. Credit earned through program meetings, volunteerism, Student Executive Council, campus lecture series attendance, and other activities approved by the program director. Student is responsible for maintaining required attendance records/documentation.

STH 101. Program Meetings. 0 Hours.

Participation in regular program meetings and/or seminar series.

STH 150. Skills for Leadership and Innovation. 1 Hour.

Introduction to individual leadership styles and basics of team function. Student groups address innovation challenge to apply leadership and teamwork principles.

STH 151. Problem Analysis and Project Planning. 1 Hour.

Students will analyze a problem or need and develop a plan to address the need. Skills such as developing measurable outcomes and communicating with stakeholders are emphasized.
Prerequisites: STH 150 [Min Grade: C] or HAC 101 [Min Grade: C]

STH 199. Introduction to the Scientific Process. 2 Hours.

Fall semester of freshman year for students accepted in the Science and Technology Honors Program. Discussion of basic concepts of scientific methodology will be woven around presentations by faculty from diverse disciplines. Discussion of contemporary scientific topics is also included.

STH 200. Program Participation II/SL. 1 Hour.

Service learning for Science and Technology Honors Program students. Credit earned through program meetings, volunteerism, Student Executive Council, campus lecture series attendance, and other activities approved by the program director. Student is responsible for maintaining required attendance records/documentation.
Prerequisites: STH 100 [Min Grade: P]

STH 201. Research Approaches I. 3 Hours.

Spring semester of freshman year. Hands-on experience with research methods. Students participate in a lab experience such as biotechnology, engineering, or chemical analysis in which they learn state-of-the-art techniques used in research laboratories.
Prerequisites: STH 199 [Min Grade: C]

STH 202. Research Approaches II. 3 Hours.

Spring semester of sophomore year. Students will complete research rotations in laboratories related to their areas of interest with the goal of selecting a laboratory in which to conduct their honors thesis research by the end of the term. Bioethics discussions will be included.
Prerequisites: STH 299 [Min Grade: C]

STH 250. PrimeTime Leadership. 1-3 Hour.

Carry through leadership or innovation project. Document outcome of the project, report to stakeholder, and prepare public presentation of project.
Prerequisites: STH 151 [Min Grade: C] or HAC 201 [Min Grade: C]

STH 270. Perspectives on Innovation. 3 Hours.

Focus on investigating examples of innovation with the goal of understand the social, scientific, and economic context that supports the innovative climate. Permission of instructor required.

STH 299. Interdisciplinary Seminar. 3 Hours.

Fall semester of sophomore year. Team-taught course with faculty from several disciplines addressing how a complex problem is addressed by multiple disciplines. This course will illustrate the synergy achieved by interdisciplinary analysis of problems.
Prerequisites: STH 201 [Min Grade: C] or CH 201 [Min Grade: C]

STH 301. Statistics and Design Overview. 3 Hours.

Spring semester of sophomore year. Introduction to statistics and research design. Covers basics of experimental design and statistical decision theory; indices of central tendency, variability, and association; graphical data presentation; and statistical inference.

STH 302. Statistics/Design Overview Lab. 1 Hour.

Spring semester of sophomore year. Computer laboratory component of STH 301 Statistics and Design Overview. Lab will illustrate principles and provide hands-on experience with statistical methods.

STH 310. Communicating Science. 1-3 Hour.

Students will collaborate with university faculty and staff to produce media products which communicate scientific concepts to the public. Permission of instructor is required.

STH 350. Next Level Leadership. 1-3 Hour.

Oversight of team organized to sustain leadership or innovation project.
Prerequisites: STH 250 [Min Grade: C] or HAC 301 [Min Grade: C]

STH 395. Honors Proposal Preparation. 1 Hour.

Seminar for students who are preparing to propose their honors thesis research project and have worked in a lab for a minimum of one semester. Students will present and discuss their research plans and provide input into the proposals of classmates. Honors thesis research proposals will be completed by the end of the semester and defended before a faculty committee. Students must have permission of the program director if they have not completed at least one semester of mentored research prior to taking this course.
Prerequisites: STH 398 [Min Grade: C]

STH 396. Internships/Comm Projects/SL. 1-3 Hour.

Experiential learning through individually designed community based or clinically related experiences. Each project will have both experiential and academic components. Permission of program director is required.

STH 397. Independent Study. 1-3 Hour.

Individually designed academic course of study under the direction of a selected faculty member. Permission of the program director is required.

STH 398. Undergraduate Research. 1-6 Hour.

Laboratory research under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Permission of program director is required.

STH 399. Honors Thesis Research. 1-6 Hour.

Undergraduate research for student's honors thesis project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Students may register for this course after approval of their honors thesis proposal in STH 395.
Prerequisites: STH 395 [Min Grade: C]

STH 400. Honors Thesis Preparation. 1 Hour.

Students will prepare their honors thesis in the format of a journal article during this course and present it to their faculty committee for approval.
Prerequisites: STH 201 [Min Grade: C], STH 395 [Min Grade: C]