I. Find a research opportunity
The first step in conducting independent research is finding a lab in which to work. Here are two good pages with advice about finding a research lab: MBB research page, Aresty research page. Also, we recommend attending research seminars in order meet people actively involved in research at Rutgers:
- Cell Biology and Neuroscience Seminars
- Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Seminars
- Genetics Seminars
- Seminars at SEBS
The following pages also contain information about faculty research interests:
- Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
- Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
- Department of Genetics
- School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
- Aresty Center
- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
- Waksman Institute
- Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine
II. Register for Research Credit
When you find a research opportunity with a faculty member with shared interests, you must bring a one page* research proposal and a signed research contract: Independent Study Contract or Research in Biology Contract or Honors in Biology Contract to the Director of Advising in order to register for research credit. The research proposal must include a specific, testable hypothesis, a clear description of the independent and dependent variables, and a plan for collecting and analyzing data. Students must have completed general biology 119:115, 119:116 and 119:117 and have a 2.8 GPA in order to register for research credit. The deadline to register for research is third Friday of every semester (Fall 2014 = September 19th).
*Honors research applications are expected to be three pages and include relevant findings from previous research.
III. Create New Knowledge!
Work in your research lab (4-5 hours of work per week, per credit) and complete a 10 page** research paper by the end of the semester. The paper is due, graded by your research advisor, to the Director of Advising by reading day of each semester.
**Independent study papers must be 10 pages per registered credit. Honors thesis requirements should be discussed with your PI and with the Director of Advising.
Specific guidelines for each type of research or independent study project:
Independent Study In Biology, Research in Biology, Honors in Biology
Independent Study (119:201, 202), Research in Biology (119:307, 308, 406, 407) are open to students major or minor in Biological Sciences (119). Honors in Biology (119:408, 409) is only open to majors in Biological Sciences (119).
Eligible students may work under the supervision of faculty members associated with the Division of Life Sciences or faculty affiliated with Rutgers-New Brunswick conducting life science based research. Research with human subjects in not permitted.
Students participating in Internship programs, volunteer service, or political activities are not eligible for Independent Study/Research/Honors credit. Students may not be paid for the work for which they are earning credits. Students may not receive credit for assisting faculty in their teaching responsibilities or for preparing and/or grading exams.
A maximum of 6 credits of Independent Study/Research/Honors in Biology coursework may be applied towards the requirements of the Biological Sciences major; 3 credits may be applied towards the minor. Students in the BA/MD program are limited to one course toward their major requirements.
Research/Honors in Biology will fulfill one laboratory requirement for the Biological Sciences major; Independent Study in Biology does not fulfill a laboratory requirement.
Each Independent Study/Research/Honors course requires the submission of a written report, due at the end of the registration period. The specific format of the report is discussed below. This requirement is in addition to any requirements dictated by the faculty sponsor.
Independent Study 01:119:201-202 (1-3 credits)
Pre or Corequisites: GPA of 2.8
Independent Study in Biology is intended to augment the curriculum by giving students an opportunity to expand their studies into areas not specifically addressed by the formal course offerings. Students work under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor to delve into a subject of mutual interest. This project is based on library work and does not involve lab research.
A term paper in appropriate scientific format, including a full literature cited section referencing peer reviewed primary and secondary sources is due at the end of the registration period. The term paper must be at least 10 pages per registered credit. The term paper must be graded by the faculty advisor and submitted to the Division of Life Sciences by the due date for that semester.
Independent Study in Biology Contract-read carefully and submit completed form to have your topic reviewed and receive an spn.
Registration will only be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Advising.
Research in Biology 01:119:307-308, 406, 407 (1-4 credits)
Pre- or Corequisites: GPA of 2.8
Research in Biology is intended to provide students with an opportunity to experience the scientific discovery process. Students engage in laboratory and/or field experimentation under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. Each student is expected to carry out his/her own research project. "Hands-on" laboratory exposure is an essential component of this course.
A written research paper is required at the end of each registration period. The research paper should include an Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results (data should be presented in figure and/or tabular form), Discussion, and References. A minimum of ten pages is required. The research paper must be graded by the faculty mentor and submitted to the Division of Life Sciences by the due date for that semester.
FALL 2020 -
All Biological Sciences majors and minors with fully remote research projects that do not require the student to come to campus may participate in Research in Biology, upon departmental approval.
Undergraduate Junior or Senior students may work in a research laboratory ON CAMPUS if they meet all of the following required criteria and are approved by the Research Advisor:
- Laboratory research credits are necessary to avoid a delay in time to degree or thesis completion,
- The student’s academic advisor or undergraduate program director endorses participation in the research activity, and
- The research can be conducted safely as endorsed by the Research Advisor and department chair.
On September 8th , the University will send out a link and directions allowing research advisors/faculty mentors to request admission for undergraduates to their research laboratories.
Fall 2020 Covid-19 Research in Biology Contract: Read carefully and submit completed form with proposal to have your project reviewed and receive an spn.
The research contract form for Research in Biology must be completed and approved prior to the start of the project.
Registration will only be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Advising.
Honors in Biology 01:119:408-409 (3-6 credits)
Pre- or Corequisites: Open to senior Biological Sciences majors who have previous research experience only. Overall GPA of 3.0; major GPA of 3.4. Completion of 18 credits of Biological Sciences courses applicable to the major.
Honors in Biology is intended to provide highly motivated students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in a scientific research project. Students engage in laboratory or field experimentation under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. Each student is expected to complete their own original research project. Direct laboratory exposure is an essential component of this course. Honors in Biology projects are expected to be more sophisticated than Research in Biology projects.
Students must complete a minimum of 6 credits to qualify for Departmental Honors. Students must submit a written thesis accompanied by an oral presentation and thesis-defense. The thesis committee must be composed of at least three faculty members, including the research advisor and at least one member of the Division of Life Sciences faculty.
Honors in Biology Research Contract - read carefully and submit completed form to have your project reviewed and receive an spn.
The honors research contract form for Honors in Biology must be completed and approved prior to the start of the project.
GH Cook Students: Students who are enrolled in George H Cook and wish to be considered for Departmental Honors must have the project approved by the Division of Life Sciences. The GH COOK Scholars Application for Biological Sciences Honors (download here) along with a three page proposal must be submitted to the Division of Life Sciences no later than the third Friday of the Fall semester of senior year.