Departmental Syllabus for BIOL 3999

Course Description

BIOL 3999 Undergraduate Research in Biological Sciences provides opportunities for individual research experiences for undergraduate students under the direction of faculty. The Department’s expectation is that the course will provide meaningful research experiences that will enhance student learning and student preparation for advanced training (e.g. graduate school) or employment. It is therefore expected that students enrolled in BIOL 3999 will perform actual scientific research and not simply be doing day-to-day laboratory tasks (e.g. glassware washing, autoclaving, etc.), although these and other routine tasks may be a necessary part of their research efforts.

Academic Credit

As a general guide, 1 credit hour is earned for 3 clock hours of research activity per week during a regular semester. Students may earn a maximum of 6 credit hours of BIOL 3999. Three credit hours may be used as advanced BCH, BIOL or MBIO electives and up to a maximum of 3 credit hours can be used as approved electives. Students enrolled prior to Fall 2004 may use a maximum of 4 credit hours of BIOL 3999 toward their degrees. BIOL 3999 cannot be used as a laboratory course. The number of credits to be earned in BIOL 3999 in a given semester is determined by mutual agreement between the student and the faculty member. Credit in BIOL 3999 will not be given if the student receives monetary compensation for the same research activity. 


Prior to registering for the course, the student should obtain approval from the faculty member who will act as their research mentor. A student enrolls in BIOL 3999 by bringing a completed Course Permission form to the Undergraduate Office, 101 Life Sciences Building. Forms are available in the Undergraduate Office. The form should indicate the desired number of credit hours and must be signed by the faculty member. 

Course Content

The specific research activity that the student will perform is determined by individual faculty. Faculty expectations regarding time commitment, specific tasks or projects, lab notebooks, written reports, etc. should be clearly communicated to the student before any research activity is initiated. 


BIOL 3999 is letter graded (A, B, C, etc.). Faculty expectations regarding grades and student performance should be clearly outlined at the beginning of the semester.

Version 2.0 August 2004