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Advanced Independent Research

biology department

Advance Independent Research in the Biology Department is a 12-credit research program for senior biology majors with an exceptional academic record and who have previously complete at least one semester of undergraduate research. This research-intensive program allows selected students to devote a significant part of their academic studies during their senior year toward the completion of an independent research project.

Typically students will enroll in undergraduate research during their junior year. Students with an exceptional academic record and solid research training may submit a research proposal for Advanced Independent Research to the department at the end of their junior year. Admissions into this program requires written support from the faculty member in whose lab the proposed project will be carried out. After reviewing the proposal and faculty support statement, the department will accept students based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility of the research
  • Preparation of the student to undertake the project
  • The substance of the proposal
  • How the research fits the overall academic development of the student

Because the Advanced Independent Research program is the prerequisite to designation as a Scholar of the College, all students accepted into the program must have the required GPA (around a 3.6).

In March students who have made significant progress on their Advanced Independent Research projects may be nominated by their faculty mentor to be named a Scholar of the College. Scholar of the College is a designation given at commencement in recognition of exceptional independent work in the student’s field of study. In order to be considered for this designation, students must submit a written thesis of their research, provide written evaluations from the faculty mentor and one additional expert in the field of study and have achieved a grade of A- or better on their Independent Research Project. In addition, it is expected that Scholars of the College will have an overall cumulative GPA of 3.67 as an indication of their mastery of the entire undergraduate program. Final determination of Scholar of the College recognition is the responsibility of the dean’s office.