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Research for Academic Credit

The Division of Biological Sciences offers four 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)

Students interested in BISP 196 must review and follow all steps outlined on the BISP 196: Senior Honors Thesis Program page.

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 Apply

  • Identify a faculty member with whom you would like to do research. See the links above listed under the specific program.
  • 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.
  • Once your placement is confirmed, work with the faculty member to complete the required application and research plan.

FALL 2014 APPLICATIONS

  • Complete the student portion of the required web-based application and research plan here (available for Fall 2014 participation).
  • Be sure to fill out the application and research plan completely, including all required fields.  This will help ensure a smooth application process. 
  • Paper applications will not be accepted.
    • Submit the student portion of the application on-line.  Submission of the application will generate an email to the applicant and the proposed instructor of record.
    • Proposed instructor of record will complete his/her portion of the application and submit it for Divisional review.

SUMMER 2014 APPLICATIONS

Deadlines

Deadlines are strictly enforced and no late applications will be accepted!  Both the student and instructor portion of the application must be submitted by the posted deadline.  Early submission is encouraged.  

  • 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
  • Spring 2015 participation: Friday, March 13, 2015
  1. The applicant will be notified of the outcome of the application via the @ucsd.edu email address.  Notification time varies and is dependent upon the instructor's response time and Divisional review period.
  2. 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.  
  3. 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:
    • If a lab requires the student provide proof of application approval, the student may print a copy of his/her approved application here.
    • If a lab requires the student provide proof of enrollment, 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.

NOTE: 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.

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.