The independent research program (BIO 395) is a variable credit course for biology students wishing to gain experience in research. Those wanting to take BIO 395 need to have confirmed a project with a faculty mentor before submitting the contract.
*There is a $100 course fee to participate in BIO 395*
1. FIND A FACULTY RESEARCH MENTOR: Use ForagerOne to find a few faculty whose research interests you. Faculty may be in the Department of Biology or anywhere else on campus, as long as their research is biological.
2. CONTACT POTENTIAL MENTORS: Email a few mentors whose research interests you. Here is a document with what you could say in your introductory email. You may exchange a few emails regarding the time commitments, availability, expectations, etc.
Click HERE for a guide on how write an email inquiring about research opportunities.
TIME COMMITMENT: Make sure that you are honest and upfront about your availability. In general, you should spend approximately 48 hours per credit on research over the course of the semester. This translates to an average of 3 hours per week over a 16-week period for every credit that you sign up for; this might vary by the week. (Lab Hours to Credit Hours Conversions)
3. MEET WITH FACULTY MENTOR: Once you have been accepted in one or more labs, set up a meeting with the faculty member to discuss potential projects.
4. CONTRACT: In consultation with your mentor, complete the BIO 395 Contract (click here for web form).This webform is the student portion of the contract. Be prepared to answer the following three questions:
- What is the main question your project will address? What is your hypothesis or driving principle?
- What types of experiments will you perform? Include brief technical details.
- What might the results of your experiments be? How could these results support or refute your hypothesis or contribute to knowledge in the field?
Please answer these questions after discussing your research plan with your mentor. You must write it in your own words. If you are continuing a project with the same faculty mentor and all the grading criteria are the same, you don't have to answer the project questions again.
5. MENTOR APPROVAL: Once the student portion is completed and submitted, an email with the information you entered will be sent to your research mentor to approve. The email will also contain a link for the faculty portion of the contract. Once completed and submitted by your faculty mentor, your contract will be received by the Biology Department.
6. APPROVAL AND REGISTRATION: You will receive email with instructions for registration if your project is approved. At that time, you will need to register for the course in myUK. If the contract is not approved, we will contact you or your research mentor.