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Student Research

The Biological Sciences Department has many undergraduate students who are involved in research with faculty mentors. Students can gain valuable laboratory and/or field skills that are useful in future careers and graduate programs.

How to Get Involved

Students who are interested in research should browse through individual faculty research topics. Read up on their research so that you are well informed. Once you've narrowed down to several laboratories you may want to work in, contact each faculty member about doing undergraduate research. Faculty members may ask to interview you if they have room in their research program for a new student.

If you are accepted into a research program, you will sign up for either BIOL 296 or BIOL 496:

  • If you are only just "checking out" to see what research is like, or if you have not had the prerequisites for BIOL 496, you will sign up for 1 unit of BIOL 296 for the semester you are doing research.
  • If you are serious about research, really want to get solid experience, and you have the prerequisites, you would sign up for 1 unit of BIOL 496. Your faculty research mentor can tell you how to obtain the forms for registration, or you can go to the department office in HSCI-104. BIOL 496 is a part of experiential learning courses that count towards your major (BIOL 494, 495, and 496).

It is highly encouraged that you eventually present your research at a conference or a symposium. You should discuss your options with your faculty research mentor.


BIOL 296 - Introduction to Undergraduate Directed Research

(1 unit)

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Introduction to research in biology approved and directed by a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences. Designed primarily to introduce lower division students to research before taking BIOL 496.

Credit/No Credit only. (Conference 1 hr., laboratory 3 hrs.) May be repeated to a maximum of 3 units in different semesters. Students who have completed one or more units of BIOL 496 may not enroll in this course.

BIOL 496 - Undergraduate Directed Research

(1-3 units)

Prerequisites: BIOL 211, BIOL 212; one of BIOL 213, BIOL 296, BIOL 311; consent of instructor; and consent of appropriate undergraduate advisor.

Research in a specific topic in biological sciences approved and directed by a faculty member in Department of Biological Sciences.

Both grading options. May be repeated for a letter grade and degree credit up to a maximum of 3 units; units beyond the three will be taken credit/no credit. Students may only use a total of 3 units of BIOL 494, 495, or 496 combined for degree requirements. Not available to graduate students.