University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biology

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Guide to Research Courses

Here is a guide to research courses offered by the Biology Department. At the end of this introduction, you can find links for you to download full information and application materials for each of the courses. These links are also found on the general course listings for the department.

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. Neuroscience majors should see the special note below.

All Biology research courses must involve biology research! Although important, 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, though, are more flexible, so students must discuss Internship plans with the Biology Department research advisor (Dr. Bryan A. Ballif, MLS 311, bballif@uvm.edu).

How to find a research sponsor: The University Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Dr. Ann Kroll Lerner (Honors College offices; 509 University Heights, Rm. 017B; Ann.Kroll-Lerner@uvm.edu; 656-5533), is an excellent resource in helping students locate a lab. Here is a link to the "Office of Undergraduate Research." Also, consider talking to instructors you have had, including graduate student lab instructors. Ask your friends who work in labs. Check the Biology Department website to learn the research programs of our faculty. Also consider looking into faculty research in other departments, colleges, or interdisciplinary programs:

Faculty participating in the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Faculty participating in the Neuroscience Graduate Program

Faculty in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Faculty in Plant Biology

Faculty in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

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.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR BA STUDENTS (Biology and Zoology)
You are required to complete 32 credits in Biology (most students complete 33 credits to include a required advanced lab course). The maximum number of credits in Biology that you can use toward your 120 credit requirement for graduation is 45. Therefore, you may take as many as 12 credits of Biology courses, including research courses. Research credits do NOT count toward your three required advanced courses.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR BS STUDENTS Integrated

Biological Sciences BS: You are required to complete 45 credits in Biology, which include 23 hours of advanced courses. Integrated Biological Sciences Students may use up to 3 credits of Biology 191, 192, 197 or 198 and up to 3 credits of Biology 297, 298 or Biology Honors 208/209 toward the 23 credits of required advanced courses—However, you can choose to have all six credits be at the 200-level (Biology 297, 298 or Biology Honors 208/209). You may also want to take Biology 193/194 (Internship) to gain experience working with an outside organization. However, Internship courses do NOT count toward your advanced course requirements.

Zoology BS: You are required to complete 46 credits in Biology, which include 23 hours of advanced courses. Zoology BS Students may use up to 3 credits of Biology 197 or 198 and up to 3 credits of Biology 297, 298 or Biology Honors 208/209 toward the 23 credits of required advanced courses—However, you can choose to have all six credits be at the 200-level (Biology 297, 298 or Biology Honors 208/209). You may also want to take Biology 191/192 (Apprenticeship) or 193/194 (Internship) to gain experience working with an outside organization. However, Apprenticeship and Internship courses do NOT count toward the Zoology BS advanced course requirements.

Note that the maximum number of credits in Biology BS students can use toward the 120 credit requirement for graduation is 50. If you take 3 credits of Apprenticeship or Internship, you would have 48 or 49 credits in Biology (no problem). If you take 6 credits of Apprenticeship or Internship you would have 51 or 52 credits, which is over the 50 hour limit. YOU MAY STILL TAKE THE EXTRA RESEARCH CREDITS! BUT, if you go over the 50 hour limit, you just need to take extra credits outside the Biology Department and finish with more than the minimum 120 credits required for graduation. For example, if you take 6 credits of Apprenticeship, you could take an extra 3 credit course in Art, Psychology, etc. and graduate with 123 credits. This is not a major issue; many students graduate with more than the minimum number of credits. See your advisor to discuss this issue.

Courses

Students should carefully read the instruction packet available for each course from the links below, and follow the instructions given. Once a proposal has been submitted, and approved, an over-ride will be done and the student can register for the course.

You may submit either the paper copy of the form to Dr. Ballif in his box in the Biology Department Office (MLS 120A) with your mentor’s signature, or you may send an electronic version of the form to Dr. Ballif as long as your mentor sends Dr. Ballif (bballif@uvm.edu) an email specifically stating: “I have read the student’s proposal, the expectations of the mentor and the student and I give my approval and support.”

Biology 191/192 Research Apprenticeship (0 - 3 credits per semester)

Students step into an ongoing research program, working under the supervision of a faculty member, but perhaps helping a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. The proposal states briefly the goals of the ongoing research, the role of the Apprentice in the project, and lists 6 to 10 new 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, and writing reports. Students may take a Research Apprenticeship during any semester, from their first year through Senior year. Signing up for zero credits 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.

Biology 193/194 Internship in Biology (3 credits each semester)

Most Internships are done off-campus, but may also be done on campus outside the Biology Department. Internships cannot be simply shadowing or "helping" at some organization. Instead, they must include an academic (learning) component similar to a Biology course. Also, the student must leave behind some influence on the organization, such as a new protocol, new data management system, etc. Internships are most appropriate for Juniors and Seniors.

Biology 197/198 Undergraduate Research (3 or 6 hours per semester)

The student develops (with the guidance of a faculty member) a research project, including the hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested, model system to be used, and the methods to test the hypothesis. Some independence is required, but students always work closely with faculty members, graduate students, and/or postdoctoral fellows. The proposal must be a professional document, prepared with great care, and approved by the faculty sponsor. The student becomes a part of a research group in an active laboratory. A paper, in standard journal format, is required at the conclusion of the project. These courses are most appropriate for Juniors and Seniors.

Biology 297/298 Advanced Undergraduate Research (3 or 6 hours per semester)

Similar to Biology 197/198, except at a higher level of effort and maturity. Usually Seniors will take these courses. Students taking Advanced Undergraduate Research typically start with a Research Apprenticeship (191/192) or Undergraduate Research (197/198).

Honors (Biology 208/209)

Available only for students doing College Honors.

Course Websites:

For Questions or Additional Information Please Contact:

Dr. Bryan A. Ballif

UVM Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Director

bballif@uvm.edu

 

Last modified August 27 2014 08:43 AM