University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biology

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Guide to Research Courses

Biology research courses may be taken by students who are majors or minors within the Biology Department (Biology, Integrated Biological Science, Zoology, or Environmental Science). These students may work with any faculty member on campus, and in some cases, off-campus. Students who are not majors in the Biology Department may take a Biology research course if they work with a Biology Department faculty member.

All Biology research courses must involve biology research! Research in human behavior, clinical practice, physical therapy, etc., may not qualify as biology research. One guideline to follow: Has the subject been covered in a Biology course such as BCOR 101, 102, or 103? Internships are more flexible, so students must discuss Internship plans with Dr. Bryan Ballif.

How to find a research sponsor: Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research http://www.uvm.edu/ugresearch/ , an excellent resource in helping students locate a lab. Also, consider talking to instructors you have had, especially graduate student lab instructors. Also, ask your friends who have worked, or are working in labs. Click HERE for more information

When approaching faculty about the possibility of doing research in their laboratories it is more productive for you to have read about their work before contacting them. Start with the information found on their websites and even try to read one or more of their scientific papers. After this, contact the faculty member saying, I read your paper about XYZ and am really interested about the research you have done. I would like to set up a time to ask you some questions about your research. Before the meeting, think of how you would answer the faculty member if you were posed the question, “What specifically about my work interests you the most?” If things go well you could ask the faculty member if there might be a position in the lab in order for you to participate in a research project.

COUNTING RESEARCH CREDITS TOWARD YOUR DEGREE
  • BIOL 098 credits count toward the total 120 needed for graduation, but not toward a biology or zoology major (BS or BA) or minor
  • Biology BS major: Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research in any biological discipline may be applied toward the 26 credits of advanced electives. Only three of these can be taken for credit at the 100-level, and these will be counted in the 8 credits allowed at the 100-level.
  • Biology BA major: Research credits do not count toward the three 200-level biology electives.
  • Zoology BS major: Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research (BIOL 198, 298, or HON 208) count toward the 27 credits of advanced electives. Only 3 can be taken for credit at the 100-level, and these will be counted in the 8 credits allowed at the 100-level.
  • Zoology BA major: Research credits do not count toward the 15 credits of BIOL electives.
  • Zoology or Biology minor - Up to 3 credits of undergraduate research in BIOL 198, 298 or HON 208 may be applied toward the minor.
EXTENDED COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
BIO 098 Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship 0-18 credits

Section Description:

Students step into an ongoing research program, working under the supervision of a faculty mentor, but perhaps helping a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. Students may take BIO 098 during any semester, from their first year through Senior year. Signing up for zero credits does not require a proposal, only the enrollment form is required and is appropriate if you might only have time to attend lab meetings or briefly shadow a lab member each week. However, in this case please DO sign up for zero credits. This helps us give credit to the mentor and to the Biology Department for supervising students.

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

Section Expectations:

Proposal: An Enrollment Form and a one-page proposal are required upon enrolling. The proposal briefly states the goals of the ongoing research, the role of the student in the project, and lists about 10 skills the student will develop during the semester. Such skills may include data collection, management of date on computer spreadsheets, statistical analysis, laboratory techniques such as PCR and cloning, literature searches, and writing reports.

Final Paper: A final report, summary or paper may be required, at the discretion of the mentor.

Evaluation:

The course instructor will assign the final grade based on the evaluation of the Faculty Research Sponsor and the final paper (if one is required). The course instructor may consult other members of the Biology Department. The grade will be based on the evaluation of the amount of work put into the project by the student and the creative thinking displayed.

BIO 198 Undergraduate Research

Section Description:

Students work closely with an experienced researcher who will aid in the identification and conduct of an original project. Each credit requires a minimum of 40 hours. However, students put in even more time. Often students do not have prior research experience and step into an ongoing project, but are working independently by the end of the semester. 

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

Section Expectations:

Proposal: An Enrollment Form and a one-page proposal are required upon enrolling. The proposal briefly states the goals of the ongoing research, the role of the student in the project, and lists about 10 skills the student will develop during the semester. Such skills may include data collection, management of date on computer spreadsheets, statistical analysis, laboratory techniques such as PCR and cloning, literature searches, and writing reports.

Final Paper: Students will prepare a paper in standard journal format under the supervision of the research mentor. The length of the paper should reflect the time devoted to the project (either one or two semesters).

Research Presentation: Biological Science and Zoology BS majors who plan to use up to six credits of Undergraduate Research as part of their required advanced courses MUST give a short presentation, sometime in April, at an approved venue (e.g., Biology Department BIOLUNCH, UVM Student research conference). All other students are encouraged to present their project and may be required to do so by their Research Mentor.

Evaluation:

The course instructor will assign the final grade based on the evaluation of the Faculty Research Sponsor, the final paper and the research presentation (if one is given). The course instructor may consult other members of the Biology Department. The grade will be based on the evaluation of the amount of work put into the project by the student and the creative thinking displayed.

BIO 298 Advanced Undergraduate Research

Section Description:

Students work closely with an experienced researcher who will aid in the identification and conduct of an original research project. Each credit requires a minimum of 40 hours. However, students typically put in even more time. Often students have prior research experience and are working at an advanced level having already taken Undergraduate Research (BIOL 098 or BIOL 198), or have had a few 200-level Biology courses, at least one with laboratory.

Students who are Biology/Biological Science/Zoology/A&S Environmental Sciences majors may work with either a Biology Department faculty member or a faculty member in another life science department.  Students who are not majors within the Biology Department must work with a Biology Department faculty member. Students can enroll for multiple semesters.

Section Expectations:

Proposal: An enrollment form and 3-5 page proposal are due by the end of the add/drop period. The research project must center on a conceptual problem in BIOLOGY, and include the statement of a problem, presentation of a hypothesis, organization of observations to test that hypothesis, collection of data, and analysis of those data. The proposal is often started in the summer or over break, before the semester in which the research occurs.

Final Paper: A report in the style of a journal article is required during the last week of classes. Students will prepare a paper in standard journal format under the supervision of the research sponsor. The length of the paper should reflect the time devoted to the project (either one or two semesters).

Research Presentation: Biological Science and Zoology BS majors who plan to use up to six credits of Advanced Undergraduate Research as part of their required advanced courses MUST give a short presentation, sometime in April, at an approved venue (e.g., Biology Department BIOLUNCH, UVM Student research conference). All other students are encouraged to present their project and may be required to do so by their Research Mentor.

Evaluation:

The course instructor will assign the final grade based on the evaluation of the Faculty Research Sponsor, the final paper and the research presentation (if one is given). The course instructor may consult other members of the Biology Department. The grade will be based on the evaluation of the amount of work put into the project by the student and the creative thinking displayed.

For Questions or Additional Information Please Contact:

Dr. Bryan Ballif

UVM Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Director

Bryan.Ballif@uvm.edu

 

 

 

 

Last modified August 17 2016 03:09 PM