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Research for Academic Credit

Special Studies research projects have returned to in-person instruction. However, if it is determined by the School of Biological Sciences or campus that instruction must be fully remote, then all research projects are expected to be done remotely as well.

The School of Biological Sciences offers a number of courses in which students can earn academic credit for conducting independent research with a faculty or industry mentor. An application is required for each quarter of intended participation. Submission of an application does not guarantee approval for academic credit. Application deadlines are strictly enforced.


  • Gain hands-on lab experience
  • Study with outstanding faculty and/or industry professionals
  • Practical application of classroom concepts
  • Meet new people who share your interests
  • Explore a new field of study or enhance your current one
  • Participate in the design of a project
  • Acquire data analysis experience
  • Practice essential lab techniques
  • Get a head start in your career or graduate study
  • Earn credit towards your biology major
    • Elective units may include one quarter of either BISP 193 or BISP 196/197/199.
    • One quarter of BISP 196/197/199 may be applied to a biology lab requirement (select majors).
    • Only one quarter of BISP 196/197/199 may apply to biology major requirements.
  • Opportunity to present your research at the Divisional Research Showcase


The academic credit research based courses offered by the School of Biological Sciences are listed below. Click on the link for additional information about each course type.

Lower-Division Courses (students  must have completed at least 30 units of undergraduate study at UCSD prior to the quarter of participation) Upper-Division Courses (students must have completed a mini mum of 90 units (including units successfully transferred to UCSD, i.e. AP, transfer) prior to the quarter of participation)


Deadlines are strictly enforced and no late applications will be accepted.
For participation in: Application Opens Application Closes/Deadline
Summer 2024 Monday, April 1, 2024 Friday, June 7, 2024 @ 4 p.m.
Fall 2024 Monday, April 1, 2024 Friday, September 6, 2024 @ 4 p.m.
Winter 2025 Thursday, September 26, 2024 Friday, December 6, 2024 @ 4 p.m.
Spring 2025 Monday, January 6, 2025 Friday, March 14, 2025 @ 4 p.m.
Summer 2025 Monday, March 31, 2025 Friday, June 6, 2025 @ 4 p.m.
Summer Session deadlines pertain to all Summer terms and a separate application is required for each Summer term for which credit is requested.

  • Applicants should review all criteria (including instructor eligibility) for enrollment in the applicable Special Studies course and ensure that the submitted application represents a complete and accurate submission.
  • Applications will be reviewed in relation to the catalog course description for the Special Studies course for which the application was submitted. If the application is denied, the student has the opportunity to re-submit, only if the application for the requested term is still open. Re-submission after the posted deadline will not be permitted, thus early submission is encouraged.
  • It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure that the proposed instructor of record submits his/her portion of the application before the posted deadline. Both the student and instructor portion of the application must be submitted by the posted deadline for the application to be considered.
  • Extensions or exceptions to the application deadlines will not be granted under any circumstances, including unavailability of the proposed instructor at the time the application is due. Applicants are encouraged to plan accordingly.
Questions? Contact Student & Instructional Services (Pacific Hall 1128) through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) or by phone at 858-534-0557