BIO 395 Mentored Research

The independent research program is a variable credit course (BIO 395) 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.

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

Student instructions

For those completing BIO 395 for the first time:

1. Use the Mentor List (also available in 101 T.H. Morgan) to identify potential mentors whose research interests you.

2. Contact potential mentors 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.

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

4. In consultation with your mentor, complete the BIO 395 contract (also available in 101 T.H. Morgan) by answering three questions that describe your proposed work.

5. Have your mentor review your project description and complete the back of the contract.

For those continuing BIO 395 research from a previous semester:

1. Write “Continuation” on the contract and complete the form. You do not need to answer the three project questions.

Return completed contracts to 101 THM BEFORE NOON on the add/drop date. 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 must be completed, signed by the student and the mentor, and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Biology.  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.
  • 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 Dr. Jennifer Osterhage, Biology Director of Undergraduate Studies, at or (859) 257-9322.

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