Research for Academic Credit

Frequently Asked Questions

General

I’ve identified a proposed instructor but my individual project has not yet been determined. What do I do?

In order to apply for academic credit, a project must be identified.  While it is understood that the focus of the project may shift, the student must have a project/plan at the time in which the application is submitted.

What type of research project qualifies for academic credit?

Per the UC San Diego General Catalog, research “projects are expected to involve primary, experimental/analytical approaches that augment training in basic biology and that echo the curricular focus of the Division of Biological Sciences.”  Thus, academic credit projects should involve analysis of biological processes or systems at a molecular, biochemical, cellular, organismal, or ecosystem level. For example, clinical projects focusing on patient interviews or assessment of patient symptoms (or analysis of data obtained from prior such interviews/assessments), human behavior, health management, or evaluation of medical devices or procedures fall outside the scope for academic credit in Biological Sciences.

Where can I find opportunities to participate in research for academic credit?

How many times can I participate in research for academic credit?

  • Students may enroll in BILD 99 a maximum of three (3) times for a maximum of twelve (12) units.
  • Students may enroll in BISP 193 a maximum of five (5) times for a maximum of twenty (20) units.
  • Students may enroll in BISP 196 a maximum of three (3) times for a maximum of twelve (12) units.
  • Students may enroll in BISP 197 a maximum of three (3) times for a maximum of twelve (12) units.
  • Students may enroll in BISP 199 a maximum of five (5) times for a maximum of twenty (20) units.

How do the number of units requested/earned correspond to hours of participation?

  • 1 unit = 30 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 3 hours/week).
  • 2 units = 60 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 6 hours/week).
  • 3 units = 90 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 9 hours/week).
  • 4 units = 120 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 12 hours/week).

Do I have to pay tuition to participate in research for academic credit?

During the academic year, there are no additional registration fees associated with participating in research for academic credit courses besides those assessed based on full-time or part-time enrollment status. Please see Registration Fees for more information.

During the summer, fees are assessed per unit.  For example, enrollment in a 4-unit BISP 199 course will result in charges for a 4-unit course.  Please see Summer Session Tuition and Fees for more information.

Can I receive both academic credit and pay for the same work?

There is no university or divisional policy that prevents an undergraduate student from earning both academic credit and pay for work conducted in the same laboratory, however this may be viewed as double compensation.  It is strongly recommended that the tasks/hours for each type of compensation be separately designated, though it is up to the individual lab. This has been managed by:

  • designating one project for academic credit and a separate project for pay. 
  • requiring that the student complete the minimum hours required for academic credit (2 units = 6 hours/week, 4 units = 12 hours/week) first, and then claim any additional hours for pay.

I will not meet the minimum qualifications for participation before the application deadline, but will after the current quarter ends. What do I do?

Students who do not meet minimum qualifications for participation at the time of application, but who anticipate doing so with the inclusion of current quarter units/grades, should apply by the stated deadline.  Applications that do not meet minimum qualifications will be placed on hold until the end of the current quarter, when cumulative UC unit total and GPA will be re-evaluated.  If minimum criteria are met, the application review process will continue.  If minimum criteria are not met, the application will be denied.

My project does not meet the qualifications for academic credit in Biological Sciences. Do I have any other options?

  • Consult with other academic departments and/or the School of Medicine to determine if the project and proposed instructor of record are eligible.
  • Volunteer in the lab, if that is an option.
  • Academic Internship Program (AIP) may be another option for academic credit.

I’ve identified an opportunity, however my proposed instructor of record is not affiliated with UC San Diego. What are my options?

Students seeking academic credit for an off-campus internship/research experience should consult with the Academic Internship Program for options.

I have applied and/or been accepted to participate in the Faculty Mentor Program (FMP). How do I earn 199 credit?

To earn 199 credit through the Division of Biological Sciences, students must meet the requirements and submit the online application by the posted deadline.  No exceptions will be made to the deadlines or requirements for BISP 199.

I am planning to continue my same research project in the same lab next quarter. How do I earn credit?

A complete application is required for each quarter of participation, even if the student will be working on the same research project in the same lab.  Subsequent applications should indicate how the project has progressed or any changes in the research question(s) or plan.

Application

When will I learn if my application has been approved?

Decision timelines vary and are dependent on the instructor response time and divisional review time.  Applications cannot be expedited.  Applicants are notified of final decisions via @ucsd.edu email.

How do I check the status of my application?

I submitted an application. What are the next steps?

Once a student submits the student portion of the research for academic credit application, it is electronically routed to the proposed instructor of record (student receives email confirmation and proposed instructor receives email request to complete instructor portion).  The instructor of record completes the instructor portion of the application and it is routed to the Division of Biological Sciences for review and decision (student and instructor receive notification of submission).  The application is reviewed to ensure that the student meets the criteria (units, GPA), that the instructor has eligibility to serve in this capacity, and that the project, as described, is appropriate for Biological Sciences credit (student receives email of final decision).

I submitted a research for academic credit application but need to make some revisions. What do I do?

Once your application has been submitted, it cannot be edited.  The applicant may request that the application be withdrawn by sending a message to Biology via the Virtual Advising Center.  Once the application has been withdrawn (notification will be sent via @ucsd.edu email), the applicant may begin a new application.

My proposed instructor did not receive notification to complete his/her portion of the application. What should I do?

In general, the proposed instructor will receive a system-generated email (to their official @ucsd.edu account) once the student submits the student portion of the application.  The message contains a specific link to the application.  If your proposed instructor is unable to locate the system-generated message, please direct the instructor to https://dbsportal.ucsd.edu/protectedinfo/ss?action=instructor_home.  The site is accessible with Single Sign-On credentials.

My proposed instructor does not check his/her @ucsd.edu email account. How will he/she be notified to complete my application?

The proposed instructor will be notified of a pending application via a system generated message sent to the official email address listed in the directory information available in the UCSD databases.  It is not possible to change the designated email address or add others (i.e. assistants, lab managers) to the correspondence.  If the proposed instructor is unable or unwilling to check official @ucsd.edu email, please direct the instructor to https://dbsportal.ucsd.edu/protectedinfo/ss?action=instructor_home.  The site is accessible with Single Sign-On credentials.

My proposed instructor is unable to complete the instructor portion of the application before the deadline. What should I do?

Please plan ahead as deadlines are strictly enforced and exceptions cannot be made.  Both the student and instructor portion of the application must be submitted by the posted deadline.  If the proposed instructor is unable to submit by the deadline, the applicant will not be able to earn academic credit in Biological Sciences for the quarter to which the applicant is applying.

My proposed instructor is unable to complete the instructor portion of the application before the deadline. Can another individual in the lab (post-doctoral fellow, lab manager, graduate student, etc.) complete the application on my proposed instructor’s behalf?

No.  The instructor portion of the application must be completed by the individual listed as instructor of record.  Though the student may be working with another individual in the lab on a day-to-day basis, the individual listed as instructor of record is ultimately responsible for the student's experience, safety, and grade assignment.  As such it is required that the instructor of record be the individual to complete the application using Single Sign-On credentials.

Enrollment

My application has been approved. How and when do I enroll in the course?

Students whose applications are approved will be administratively enrolled in the course.  Enrollment typically occurs during Week 1 of the quarter, but may occur as late as Friday of Week 2.

In Summer terms, enrollment will occur prior to the Summer Session Fee Payment Deadlines.

My application has been approved. Can I be enrolled early for financial aid (or other) purposes?

Enrollment typically occurs during Week 1 of the quarter, but may occur as late as Friday of Week 2.  Early enrollment is not generally possible. 

For example, if a student needs to hold full-time status for financial aid purposes prior to the start of the quarter, adding an open course to bring the quarter unit-level to full-time status is recommended.  Once the BILD 99/BISP 199 is added to the student's class list, the "place-holder" course can be dropped.  All standard deadlines and regulations apply.

Adding BILD 99/BISP 196/BISP 199 to my schedule will cause me to exceed the unit limit for the term (19.5 units prior to start of quarter/22 units after start of quarter). What should I do?

If the application is approved, the applicant will be contacted via the Virtual Advising Center with instructions and/or options for enrollment.  This communication typically occurs after the start of the quarter.

I applied to particpate in BILD 99/BISP 199 for 2 units but want to change to 4 units. How do I change the unit value of the course?

Students should discuss the plan to change the course unit-value with the instructor of record.  If you have the approval of your instructor, you may change the unit value of the course once you are enrolled, following the instructions listed at How to Change a Grading Option or Number of Units per Class.  All standard deadlines and regulations apply.

I do not see BILD 99/BISP 196/BISP 199 as a course option on the Schedule of Classes. Is BILD 99/BISP 196/BISP 199 offered this quarter?

BILD 99/BISP 199 is available Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer Session I, Summer Session II, and Special Summer Session; BISP 196 is available Fall, Winter, and Spring.  These courses will not appear on the Schedule of Classes as enrollment is based on the completion and approval of an application.

I have applied but no longer want to participate in research for academic credit. What do I do?

Students who are not yet enrolled in the course should send a message via the Virtual Advising Center requesting that the application be withdrawn.  Students who are already enrolled in the course may drop via WebReg.  All standard deadlines and regulations apply.

Grading Criteria

What is the grading criteria for research for academic credit courses?

BILD 99/BISP 196/BISP 199 is graded on a pass or no pass basis.  To earn a pass, the student must meet the expectations and requirements set forth by the instructor in the application.  In general, the final grade is based on effort, participation, ability to communicate the research project, and the quality of work.  Grading criteria can vary and are at the discretion of the instructor.  The student should be clear on the grading criteria before submitting an application.

How and when does my instructor submit my final grade?

The instructor of record will receive communication from the Registrar’s Office about grade submission processes and deadlines each quarter.  The instructor will submit a final grade (Pass or No Pass) via the campus eGrades system.  In general, grades are due the Tuesday following final exam week.  Keep in mind that only the instructor of record may submit final grades.

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