Information for students interested in Bioc 115


What is Bioc 115? This 7-week, one-credit mini-course introduces freshman prospective biologists to the excitement of research biology at Rice and the Medical Center and provides them with some context to think about how we know the things presented as facts in textbooks. Groups of five to eight students meet weekly to explore a published research article by a local lab, gaining background information about the subject and exposure to the techniques used to generate the data. In the final session, the group tours the lab that produced the featured article.

Who is eligible to take it? This course is open to first year students interested in learning more about research biology. You are eligible if this is your first year at Rice and you are not a transfer student. Even if your AP credits give you advanced standing, you are considered a freshman (first year) for the purposes of this course. All skill levels and backgrounds are welcome; there are no prerequisites.


What will we do in the course? During the first three sessions, we read and discuss a featured research article written by members of a Houston research lab. In the fourth session, we discuss a second related research article. During the final session, we tour the Rice or Medical-Center lab in which the research for the featured article was performed, meet the authors, and see the equipment, notebooks, and manuscripts that went into producing the published article. In addition to this core structure, there will be four additional activities: a tour of the instructor's lab, a viewing of a scientific seminar, a tour of a Texas Medical Center department, and a science-related movie screening. Homework consists of assigned readings and questions.


When and where will the course be held? The course is offered in the second half of both the fall and spring semesters. Sections are held in seminar rooms and are offered once per week in the afternoons.

Who teaches the course? Graduate-student and postdoctoral researchers from biosciences departments at Rice lead the course sections. The group leader functions as an instructor, mentor, and tour guide. The course is organized by Dereth Phillips and Bonnie Bartel in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology department.

How do I register for the course? You can register on-line through Esther. You must be a first-year student (not transfer) to enroll. There are 6 available sections per term, each capped at eight students.

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Bioc 115 is cross-listed as FSEM 115 and eligible for Natural Sciences D3 distribution credit.

Bioc 115 is a part of Reading to Research, a project designed to lead students from the scientific literature to participation in laboratory research. It was developed with support from an HHMI Professor grant awarded to Bonnie Bartel.