Honours Program

What is the Biomedical Sciences Honours Program? The BMS-HP was created for students that are capable of taking on an extra challenge on top of the standard bachelor program. Honours students are motivated to invest time to further improve their understanding of the biomedical sciences and the associated science community. The Honours Program is a 2 year program, which starts in the second study year of the student’s bachelor. Within these 2 years a Honours student that successfully completes the program will have acquired 45EC (european credit) in addition to the 180EC that he or she will collect throughout the BMS bachelor. During the Honours program the Honours students will work on projects individually, but the students will also participate in group activities. The BMS-HP comprises the following components: 

  • Group activities (15EC)
  • Group meetings (7.5EC)
  • BMS course ‘One Health’ (7.5EC)
  • International excursion
  • Individual activities (30EC)
  • Individual Honours Project (15EC)
  • Personal contribution (15EC)

The components listed above will be explained in more detail below. 

Group Meetings

The Honours students meet monthly with the other Honours students of their group during the group meetings. A professional mentor who attends all group meetings and guides the individual students is provided by BMS. 

Every meeting a chairperson and secretary are selected from the midst of the students. Oftentimes, a selection of students have prepared a ‘Journal Club’ and present and discuss a scientific article during the group meeting. But on other occasions biomedical researchers are invited to discus their work with the students or the students set out on a field trip to a biomedical laboratory. Furthermore, time and attention are dedicated to the individual progress of the HP students concerning their Individual Honours Project.

One Health

‘One Heath’ is a level 3 course in the 4th period of the 2nd year of the BMS bachelor. BMS provides this course primarily for BMS-HP students, pharmaceutical science students and veterinary students. Additionally, Honours students form economic studies and law studies are also invited and encouraged to enroll for the One Health course. In summary, One Health is a multidisciplinary course that stimulates students from different fields to collaborate and investigate the relationship between human, animal and environmental health. HBU asked HP student Joris Hageman to describe One Health:

"The course One Health is very different from most courses. Lectures do not take place in the big lecture halls, but in small rooms. This makes it much easier for the students to discuss the stories told by the lecturer. The fact that mainly Honours students participate in the course also leads to many discussions about the subjects. Students are challenged to think. One Health is for a large part about zoonoses: diseases which can be transmitted from animals to humans. An example of a zoonosis, which has been all over the news, is Ebola. During the course it is discussed how it is possible that this virus broke out only a few years ago, even though it has existed for decades. Not only biomedical subjects are discussed, but also the impact of the disease on the world and the rules and regulations which exist for outbreaks. Another example of a subject that is covered is antibiotic resistance. How come bacteria become more and more resistant? What are the consequences of this? How can we prevent bacteria from becoming more resistant? There are no exams in One Health. Grades are determined by project works (similar to project 1 and 2), which take place in the last weeks of the course."  

This course is a mandatory part of the Honours Program and upon successful completion of One Health students are granted 7.5EC. More information on the One Health course can be found in the BMS study guide.  

International Excursion

Every year the HP students set out on an international excursion. These trips abroad are organized by the Honours students themselves. During the trip biomedical laboratories, companies and institutes are visited. But there is also time for cultural and student activities. BMS requires Honours students to participate in the international excursion.  

Individual Honours Project

A considerable part of the Honours Program is the Individual Honours Project. The project is performed independently and students are granted 15EC for completion of their individual project. A student is expected to need approximately 400 work hours to complete the individual project. These 400 work hours correspond to the time that is spent by the average student to complete 2 BMS courses (2x 7.5EC). Time planning and management are the student’s responsibility. One can choose to dedicate a number of sequential weeks to an internship at a lab, but on the other hand, one can also choose to spend a longer period of time working on a writing assignment. A HP student has a large freedom of choice when it comes to the selection of the subject and the mentor for the individual project. On this webpage you can also find a few examples of individual projects performed by former HP students. 

Personal Contribution

In addition to the components illustrated above, 15EC of the 45 Honours EC are reserved for ‘personal contribution’. These 15EC can be earned by transforming BMS provided courses into ‘Honours courses’. This means that a student contacts the course coordinator of the BMS course in question to discuss the possibility of executing an extra assignment that is connected to the course’s content. On top of the 7.5EC the student earns for successful completion of the BMS course, the student will earn 7.5 Honours EC.

Since the 2014-2015 academic year, 1st year BMS students have the possibility of following the course ‘Orientation Honours Program’. This is a level 1 course in the 3rd period of the first year of the bachelor, which enables students to become acquainted with the Honours Program. Students that enroll for this course carry out a small project and participate in group meetings. The 7.5EC granted to students that complete this course also count as Honours EC.