Below are the steps to conduct research for credit. Please consult the guidelines for each type of research or independent study project you are interested in. Each process may have different deadlines and requirements.
I. Find a Research Opportunity
The following pages also contain information about faculty research interests:
- Molecular Biosciences Research Faculty Areas of Research
- 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 Quantitative Biology (previously BioMaPS)
- 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 submit a one page* research proposal and a signed research contract in order to register for research credit (see sections below for forms and directions for submission). 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.
*Honors research application proposals 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. Independent Study 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 a SPN. Email 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. No research with human subjects permitted.
- A written research paper is required at the end of each semester. 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
Research in Biology Application Docusign Powerform ( Fall or Spring)
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. No research with human subjects permitted.
- 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 Application Docusign Powerform (Fall only )
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.
Interested in Writing a Rutgers Honors Thesis for Biological Sciences? Hear from our students about their experience!