BIO 395 Mentored Research

The independent research program (BIO 395) is a variable credit course for the advanced biology student wishing to gain experience in research. This is an outstanding opportunity for students to expand their horizons and deepen appreciation of contemporary biological research, whatever their career goals. Most students taking this course register for 3 credits per semester in each of one or two semesters.

 Fall or Spring of the junior year are good times to initiate a research project but involvement in research at any point is very beneficial. However, faculty prefer to take juniors so that projects can be continued over several semesters. It is generally not a good idea to count on taking one semester of BIO 395 during your last semester, as you may have trouble finding a lab to join. Those wanting to take BIO 395 need to have confirmed a project with a faculty mentor well ahead of the semester when they will start their research.

*There is a $100 course fee to participate in BIO 395*


Student instructions

1. Use the Mentor List to identify potential mentors whose research interests you.

2. Contact potential mentors during the semester before you want to do research to determine if they are accepting BIO 395 students and if you are eligible to join their lab.  Potential mentors may ask about what courses you have completed, your GPA, your time commitment, etc. (Lab Hours to Credit Hours Conversions)

3. Set up a meeting with the faculty member to discuss potential projects.

4. In consultation with your mentor, complete the BIO 395 Contract (digital form or printable PDF). 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. Once the student portion is complete, the faculty mentor will need to complete their portion. Contracts can be submitted either (1) in-person: THM 101, or (2) electronically to (ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ARE PREFERRED). To submit electronically, please submit only PDF files; RENAME YOUR FILE AS: BIO395_F21_lastname_firstname.pdf (change semester and year as needed: F for Fall, S for Spring, Su for Summer).

6.  You will receive email confirmation and 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.


Research Opportunities for Freshmen and Sophomores

  • BIO 199 is designed to provide beginning students an opportunity to participate in research projects and to gain research experience in biology while working with faculty members in the Biology department or other life sciences departments such as those in the colleges of medicine, dentistry, agriculture, engineering, and pharmacy, as well as departments in A&S such as chemistry and psychology. It is the responsibility of the student to contact a faculty member and arrange the conditions of the research project. Prior to beginning work, a BIO 199 Research Contract (digital form or printable PDF) must be completed, signed by the student and the mentor, and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biology. Contracts can be submitted either (1) in-person: THM 101, or (2) electronically to (ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ARE PREFERRED). To submit electronically, please submit only PDF files; PLEASE RENAME YOUR FILE AS FOLLOWS: BIO199_F21_lastname_firstname.pdf. BIO 199 is designed to allow students to begin research early in their academic careers and to enjoy the benefits of this experience in preparation for more-advanced research work later in BIO 395.
  • As this experience is viewed as part of the learning process leading to later independent work, carries only 0 to 1 hours of academic credit. Please note that this is a Pass/Fail course.
  • The UK-Undergraduate Research Program facilitates entry of new students into research labs and offers opportunities for seminars and discussions among participating students. UK-URP is an excellent way to get into basic research nearly as soon as you arrive on campus.

If additional information is needed about any of these opportunites, please contact us via the biology resource email, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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