Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Capstone
Coursework is only part of the experience you will gain while obtaining your undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences. You will also have the ability to distinguish yourselves from your classmates by engaging in projects outside the classroom. Biological Sciences encourages students to take advantage of the professional development opportunities that best suit their career goals.
Scientific research is among the most challenging and rewarding of professional activities, and careers involving research will allow you to be part of the next generation of scientific discovery. Research drives progress in health and medicine, environmental science, agriculture, and all other biological disciplines. Experience in research will not only help you in pursuing a research career, other professional disciplines such as medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, and others rely on scientific research. Experience with the actual process of performing research can make you more able to perform your work, and more attractive to potential employers or schools. Biological Sciences has many active research programs, covering diverse scientific fields, and we encourage interested and motivated undergraduates to contact faculty whose research interests them in order to discuss potential opportunities. You can explore research programs by following the "Faculty Research" link to the right.
Undergraduate research can be performed informally by simply agreeing with a faculty member to join their lab, through coursework (BSC 485 Independent Study), or for your Capstone project (BSC 491). Details on the requirements for Independent Study are set by a student's research mentor, details on the Capstone Projects are found below.
Students involved in research coursework or Capstone can apply for research funds and/or tuition waivers; the forms for these can be found on the "Forms" page to the right. Please note, you are not limited to a single semester of research experience - often the most valuable opportunities come to students who begin research early, and continue with a project for two or more semesters.
Biological Sciences requires all majors to perform a Capstone project in their senior year. We currently offer two options for fulfilling your Capstone requirement:
A. Research. This option allows students to conduct research with a scientist in the Department of Biological Sciences. Each student/mentor team will design an appropriate research project which should be able to be completed in one semester. It is expected that the student will have sufficient guidance from the mentor to undertake a meaningful research experience, and not be exclusively engaged in administrative or cleanup work. It is expected that a minimum of 90 hours will be dedicated to completing this work. While the details of the requirements will be up to the student/mentor team, it is highly encouraged that some form of oral presentation of the completed project be part of the student's responsibilities. The final grade will be assigned by the research mentor. The form for course registration can be found on the "Forms" page.
B. Shadowing. This option allows students with interests in clinical careers to shadow/intern with a clinician in a specific profession ie Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, etc. To successfully complete this option, students must arrange a minimum of 90 hours of supervised shadowing with a clinical professional or group. This voluntary, non-paid position should provide the student with insights and opportunities to learn about that profession not available through other means. It is imperative that the time the student spends in this shadowing position be geared toward the clinical aspects of the profession, not the front office. In addition to the 90 hours of "work", the student will be required to keep a log/diary of each days assignments and to write a summary paper of the experience. This paper will include how the shadowing affected the student's perception of the field, including positive and negative impressions that may have been formed. Lastly, the clinical mentor must complete the Supervisor's Evaluation Form and provide a suggested grade with justification for that grade. The log, the paper and the Supervisor's Evaluation form must be submitted to Dr. David Mallory (S-350) prior to the beginning of finals week for the semester enrolled. The final grade will be assigned by Dr. Mallory following an evaluation of the submitted materials. Forms for course registration, and mentor evaluation, can be found on the "Forms" page.
Please adhere to the following deadlines, failure to do this can lead to problems with your registration and/or grades. It is your responsibility to ensure that deadlines are met!
Register for Capstone or Independent Study: Before the beginning of classes, in the semester during which the work will be performed. Please note: forms must be completed, submitted, and approved before registration can take place, so start early.
Submission of Project Requirements: Before the beginning of exam week during the semester registered. Submit to Dr. Mallory (Shadowing Capstone) or your research mentor (Research Capstone or Independent Study).
Applications for Undergraduate Research Grants or Tuition Waivers: See deadlines listed on the forms (found on "Forms" page).