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Research for Academic Credit

The Division of Biological Sciences offers three courses in which students can earn academic credit for conducting independent research. An application and research plan are required for each quarter of participation.  Submission of an application and research plan does not guarantee approval. Deadlines are strictly enforced.

Benefits

  • Gain hands-on lab experience
  • Study with outstanding faculty
  • Meet new people who share your interests
  • Explore a new field of study or enhance your current one
  • Get a head start in your career
  • Earn credit towards your biology major
    • One quarter of BISP 196 or 199 (if taken for 4 units) may apply to biology major requirements as an elective
  • Opportunity to present your research at the Divisional Research Showcase

BILD 99: Independent Research (2 or 4 units)

  • Specifically for lower-division students.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative UC GPA.
  • Minimum of 30 units completed (including units successfully transferred to UC San Diego, i.e. AP, transfer) and no more than 90 units completed.
  • Minimum one quarter commitment.
  • Variable unit course graded on pass/no pass basis.
    • 2 units = 60 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 6 hours/week).
    • 4 units = 120 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 12 hours/week).
  • Earn lower-division credit. Does not satisfy a biology major requirement.
  • Research must be related to biological sciences and is subject to approval by the division.
  • Faculty sponsor/instructor must have a UCSD faculty title and is required to adhere to the Faculty Guidelines for Undergraduate Mentoring. Not limited to faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences. Please visit UCSD Biological Sciences Research Opportunities for potential sponsors/instructors. This is not an exhaustive list and students may also contact faculty that are not listed.
  • Credit may not be received for a course numbered 99 subsequent to receiving credit for a course numbered 199.
  • Completion of mandatory safety training and any other training related to the research you are conducting, as determined by your faculty sponsor/instructor.

BISP 196: Honors Thesis in Biology (4 units)

  • Undergraduate student with senior standing declared as one of the eight majors offered by the Division of Biological Sciences.
  • Achieve prior to the start of the program (end of junior year) a minimum 3.6 biology major and overall UC GPA.
  • Three consecutive quarters of BISP 196 research during the last three quarters at UC San Diego (research must be conducted during fall, winter, and spring).
  • Each quarter of BISP 196 is worth 4 quarter units = 120 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 12 hours/week).
  • BISP 196 is graded on a pass/no pass basis.
  • Earn upper-division credit. One quarter of BISP 196 may apply to biology major requirements as an elective.  Additional quarters of special studies courses (196, 197, 198, 199) will result in upper-division university credit.
  • Research must be related to biological sciences and is subject to approval by the division.
  • Faculty sponsor/instructor must have an eligible UCSD faculty title and is required to adhere to the Faculty Guidelines for Undergraduate Mentoring.
  • Requires completion of written thesis, presentation of research in the Divisional Research Showcase, and publication of research abstract in the Saltman Quarterly.
  • Students who successfully complete all the requirements for the Senior Honors Thesis Program will have “Distinction” recorded on their final transcript. This program is the ONLY way to earn distinction through the Division of Biological Sciences.
  • Additional Senior Honors Thesis Program information.
  • Completion of mandatory safety training and any other training related to the research you are conducting, as determined by your faculty sponsor/instructor.

BISP 197: Biology Research Internship Program (4 units)

Students interested in BISP 197 must review and follow all steps outlined on the BISP 197: Biology Research Internship Program page.

BISP 199: Individual Research for Undergraduates (2 or 4 units)

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative UC GPA.
  • Minimum of 90 units completed (including units successfully transferred to UC San Diego, i.e. AP, transfer).
  • Minimum one quarter commitment.
  • Variable unit course graded on a pass/no pass basis.
  • 2 units = 60 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 6 hours/week).
  • 4 units = 120 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 12 hours/week).
  • Earn upper-division credit. One quarter of BISP 199 (if taken for 4 units) may apply to biology major requirements as an elective. Any additional quarters of special studies courses (196, 197, 198, 199) will result in upper-division university credit.
  • Research must be related to biological sciences and is subject to approval by the division.
  • Faculty sponsor/instructor must have a UCSD faculty title and is required to adhere to the Faculty Guidelines for Undergraduate Mentoring. Not limited to faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences. Please visit UCSD Biological Sciences Research Opportunities for potential sponsors/instructors. This is not an exhaustive list and students may also contact faculty that are not listed.
  • Completion of mandatory safety training and any other training related to the research you are conducting, as determined by your faculty sponsor/instructor.

How to Register

  1. Identify a faculty member with whom you would like to do research. See the links above listed under the specific program.
  2. Contact the faculty member to inquire about availability and to explain your interest/qualifications. It is recommended that you include information about your eligibility, your academic background, your research experience (if any), and why you are interested in the work being conducted in that particular lab. You may want to include your resume.
  3. Once your placement is confirmed, work with the faculty member to complete the required application and research plan:

    Be sure to fill out the application and research plan completely, including all required signatures. This will help ensure a smooth application process.

  4. Submit the completed application and research plan to the Biological Sciences Student and Instructional Services Office (Pacific Hall 1128) on or before the stated deadline. An application and research plan are required for each quarter of participation, even if work will continue in the same lab/working on the same project. Deadlines are strictly enforced! Early submission is encouraged.
    • Spring 2014 participation: Friday, March 14, 2014
    • Summer 2014 (any session) participation: Friday, June 6, 2014 see Biology Summer Research for specific Summer Session information
    • Fall 2014 participation: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
    • Winter 2015 participation: Friday, December 12, 2014
  1. If the application is approved, students will be automatically enrolled during the first or second week of the quarter in which the research is to be conducted. Applicants will be contacted via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) ONLY if there are problems with the application and/or enrollment.  
  2. Once an independent study application and research plan are submitted, they will not be returned to the student or forwarded to any other individual, organization or institution. If a lab requires the student provide enrollment verification, the following options are available:
    • Official - Request Enrollment Verification from the Registrar's Office.
    • Unofficial - Provide a print-out via TritonLink Courses & Waitlists screen, which lists the course, instructor, section ID, grading option, etc.

Enjoy your research!

Questions?Questions? Contact Student & Instructional Services (Pacific Hall 1128) through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) or by phone at (858)534-0557.