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BIOS 399: Independent Research

BIOS 399 Heading link

Find out how to be a part of BIOS 399!

BIOS 399 is a great idea for any student who intends to pursue a research field or attend a graduate or professional school! This course gives students the chance to complete supervised research and obtain 2 hours of credit.

Students must choose a researcher to act as their supervisor. The work may be completed with one of our Biological Sciences faculty members or with a faculty member from another department. You select the faculty member you want to work with. You may find a suitable match by visiting our Research page, or by using the Undergraduate Research Experience website. It is your responsibility to find a research supervisor. The department will not place students into labs.

What is a suitable BIOS 399 Research Project? The purpose of BIOS 399 is to expose students to independent biological research. In almost all cases, this will involve the collection and analysis of biological data. Projects that involve a literature review should be taken as BIOS 391. If you are being supervised by a member of the Department of Biological Sciences, then your research is automatically suitable for BIOS 399. If you are not being supervised by a member of the Department of Biological Sciences, then it is important that your data are biological in nature. This is so that a member of the department is able to assess the quality of your research. If you are unsure whether your research is suitable for BIOS 399, please contact the academic administrator of BIOS 399, Dr. Alexander Shingleton (
To obtain credit, students must meet the following three expectations:
  1. Student must work at least 10 hours per week in the laboratory (20 hours per week during the summer semester).
  2. Student must attend 3 mandatory workshops throughout the semester.
  3. Students must submit a research paper at the end of the semester that is in the style of a published article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

No more than 5 hours of credit from BIOS 391 and BIOS 399 courses can be used as credit towards the Biological Sciences major.

Credit will not be given for previously conducted research. The research must be done concurrent to enrollment in BIOS 399 for students to earn credit.

Minimum of 2.00/4.00 grade point average (GPA) in Biological Sciences courses and consent of the instructor and department.



Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades only. BIOS 399 will not affect your GPA.


Signing Up

New and continuing BIOS 399 students, please see the BIOS 399 COVID-19 Updates tab for important updates regarding application, deferral, and final paper submission.

First Time BIOS 399: Complete an Application for Independent Research. The form must be submitted by the Friday of Week 2 in the fall/spring semester, or Friday of Week 1 in summer semesters. The application form includes a short research proposal. Guidance on how to write this proposal is provided here.

Deferring BIOS 399 Credit: If you have not completed your research in the designated semester, but will be able to finish within the next semester, you must complete a Deferral Form and Deferral Notice. This must be submitted to the BIOS 399 coordinator at 3272 SES no later than 12 PM on the Friday of the last week of instruction.

Submitting Your Paper: Please follow the instructions in the BIOS 399 Student Handbook for writing your research paper. You must attach a BIOS 399 Cover Sheet to your final paper. All final papers must be submitted to the BIOS 399 coordinator at 3272 SES no later than 12 PM on the Friday of finals week.

BIOS 399 Workshop Series

All students registered for BIOS 399 must attend three mandatory workshops (two if you have taken BIOS 399 in a previous semester). The first workshop covers the basics the research process and how to write a research proposal, and is for students who have not taken BIOS 399 before. The second workshop covers how to present your research to non-scientists and how to write a research paper. In the final workshop, each student gives a short (3 minute) presentation on their research aimed at a non-scientist.

Workshop Schedule

All workshops will be held in person in SEL 4273

Workshop 1 (new BIOS 399 only): Attend one of the following meetings
  • 8:00 – 8:50am, Monday, January 31
  • 11:00 – 12:00pm, Tuesday, February 1
  • 3:00 – 3:50pm, Wednesday, February 2
  • 2:00-2:50pm, Thursday, February 3
  • 8:00-8:50am, Monday, February 7

Workshop 2 (all BIOS 399 students): Attend one of the following meetings

  • 8:00 – 8:50am, Monday, March 14
  • 11:00 – 12:00pm, Tuesday, March 15
  • 3:00 – 3:50pm, Wednesday, March 16
  • 11:00-11:50, Thursday March 17

Workshop 3 (all BIOS 399 students):  Attend one of the following meetings. No more than 8 people per meeting. Students will sign up in advance, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Additional meeting times will be made available May 2 and 3  if necessary.

  • 8:00 – 8:50am, Monday, April 25
  • 11:00 – 12:00pm, Tuesday, April 26
  • 3:00 – 3:50pm, Wednesday, April 27
  • 2:00 – 2:50pm, Thursday,  April 28
  • 11:30 – 12:20pm, Monday, May 2
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm, Monday, May 2
  • 2:00 – 2:50pm, Monday, May 2
  • 10:30 – 11:20am, Wednesday, May 3
  • 3:00 – 3:50pm, Wednesday, May 3

BIOS 399 application updates for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters due to COVID-19:

New Applicants:

-BIOS 399 applications for the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters must be submitted via email to Please read the following submission instructions carefully.

-Please ensure that your application is 100% complete upon submission. This includes the attached proposal, and an electronic signature from your PI/supervisor.

· If your PI/supervisor is a faculty member of the Biological Sciences Department within LAS, please ensure that you have write the CRN that is designated for your PI.

· If your PI/supervisor is a faculty member outside of the Biological Sciences Department in LAS, please write in CRN 16416 if you are a Summer 2021 applicant, and CRN 18983 if you are a Fall 2021 applicant.

-Applications for the Summer 2021 semester are due no later than Friday, June 18th at 12pm. Applications for the Fall 2021 semester are due no later than Friday, September 3rd at 12pm. -Any questions about this updated application process should be directed to

Current BIOS 399 students:

-Students who are in progress on BIOS 399 will be submitting final papers or deferral notices online to BIOS 399 instructor Dr. Alexander Shingleton. If you have any questions about this, please contact him at

· Deferral Applications are due to Dr. Shingleton no later than Friday, April 30th.

· Final Papers are due to Dr. Shingleton no later than Friday, May 7th

two students in a lab

This is a terrific resource that contains helpful information for students who are interested in pursuing undergraduate research opportunities.

BIOS 399 Summer Term Registration

Effective beginning the Summer 2022 semester, students will no longer be able to enroll and complete a BIOS 399 project solely during a summer semester. Students will be permitted to enroll in BIOS 399 during a summer semester if they meet at least one of these two conditions.

-they were previously enrolled in BIOS 399 during the spring semester prior

-they plan to enroll in BIOS 399 again in the following fall semester


Students will not be permitted to enroll in BIOS 399 for the summer if it’s their first time and they plan to graduate that term.

BIOS 399 Student Handbook