Requirements for Bioc 310 Course Credit

Bioc 310 is an independent program of study for students interested in biological or biomedical research. All students will complete a laboratory-based independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. There is no formal classroom instruction.

Summary: Bioc 310 students must perform research in the laboratory of a faculty member in the BioSciences Department at Rice University (sections 3 and above) or in off-campus Texas Medical Center laboratories (sections 1-2). Students are required to spend at least 3 hours per week in the laboratory for each semester hour of credit. If taken for 3 or more hours, Bioc 310 counts as one required lab course but not as 300-level elective in Natural Sciences or Engineering. Bioc 310 requires a research proposal, weekly reports and a final project (either a research paper in the fall semester or a poster presentation in the spring semester). The prerequisite is either Bioc 111 or Bioc 211 and instructor permission is required. To receive credit, a student must participate in a laboratory-based biosciences research project. Certain types of clinical research may qualify for credit through the clinical research section (section 2), however, credit cannot be received for physician shadowing. Students will not receive course credit if they are being paid for their work. It is strongly recommended that all students register for 3 credit hours their first semester of Bioc 310. Fewer hours will leave insufficient time for meaningful research and more might be unsustainable with a busy academic schedule. Students in the off-campus sections (sections 1 and 2) must register for at least 3 credits.

Finding a lab: Prior to enrolment in Bioc 310, you must secure a position in a laboratory. You can identify candidate labs by reading faculty members' scientific publications and website research summaries. You can then email the faculty member to inquire about the possibility of performing research in their lab. If the faculty member agrees, you and the faculty member can meet and discuss the available projects, the number of hours to sign up for, and other details. For additional help with locating research opportunities on or off campus, see the manual section on "Finding a research lab".

Registration: Once you have found a lab, you must then obtain a signed special registration form from your Biochemistry and Cell Biology research professor and will register for that professor's section of Bioc 310. If you wish to perform Bioc 310 research off-campus, you must complete a Bioc 310 Off-Campus application form at least two weeks before the start of classes. The Bioc 310 instructor will then contact your off-campus professor to confirm that s/he has agreed to host you in their lab. The instructor will then prepare a Bioc 310 registration form for you. Note: For on-campus researchers, the instructor serves as a course resource. For off-campus research students, the Bioc 310 instructor also serves as the on-campus professor and contributes to the assigned grades. All Bioc 310 students should register before the beginning of the semester; those students who register after the second week of classes will face a grade penalty (see below). Students who begin their research late will be required to make up missed research hours over the course of the semester.

Writing assignments

Research proposal: Prepare a 1-page research project proposal (abstract) that summarizes the basis of the planned project and details your experimental aims for the semester. Please consult the section of the manual on "Preparing your research proposal (abstract)" below for the required format of this document. Develop this proposal in consultation with your professor and submit it to all of your advisors (professor, mentor, and the instructor of your Bioc 310 section) before the end of the second week of classes. To ensure that all students register and secure viable research projects in a timely manner, there will be a grade penalty for late submission of the research proposal. Late proposals decrease the final semester letter grade for each week late. For example: an "A" student who submits the proposal in the third week of classes would earn an "A-", in the fourth week a "B+", and so on. One purpose of this research proposal is to help you get concrete guidance early. Your deadline to submit this document gives your professor a deadline to provide you with input.

Weekly progress reports: Send weekly email progress reports to your professor and your research mentor; off-campus students will copy their reports to the instructor of their Bioc 310 section as well. This weekly email will include: hours in lab that week, experiments conducted, results obtained, conclusions drawn, and plans for the following week. These reports will be due by the end of each week (Saturday, 11:59 pm). Your professor is welcome to request an earlier deadline. Please consult the weekly report section of the manual for the suggested format and examples.

Final project: A research paper will be required in the fall semester and a poster will be required in the spring semester. On-campus students will turn in their final project to their BCB professor and their research mentor; off-campus students will hand in their projects to the instructor of their Bioc 310 section as well as their off-campus professor and research mentor. Submit drafts of papers or posters to these same individuals for comments prior to the final deadline. See the deadlines page for the relevant deadlines. For off-campus researchers, the professor's signature on the final project or confirming email will be required to indicate that your documents have been reviewed and approved. Alternatively, the professor may send an electronic copy of the final document as proof of receipt. The research paper is due at 5 pm on the last day of finals in the fall; the poster will be presented at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) in the spring (http://rurs.rice.edu/). It is the student's responsibility to register for the poster session. Individual professors may impose additional requirements, such as a research paper in the spring semester, and should inform students of these additional requirements and associated due dates by the end of the second week of classes.

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Bioc 310 more info:

Bioc 310 is coordinated with Bioc 115 as part of Reading to Research, a project designed to lead students from the scientific literature to participation in laboratory research. The Reading to Research program is funded through an HHMI Professor grant awarded to Bonnie Bartel.

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