University of Washington Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Guidelines




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University of Washington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Research Guidelines

The Biology Department faculty considers research to be a valuable component of the undergraduate curriculum. Students develop a greater appreciation for the scientific process by learning research methods, analyzing data and reading the scientific literature. Biology majors who are doing research sponsored by UW faculty may enroll in a 499 Undergraduate Research Course. This form is now necessary if the student is completing a 499 course through any department.

Students who perform 499 research may apply to have these credits count toward the Biology major requirements. However, to do so, they must first obtain approval by the Biology Department as to the appropriateness of the research effort for the Biology degree. Approval should generally be requested before the research is conducted by following the steps below. Any requests to petition are never guaranteed.

The student should discuss the project with the faculty sponsor before enrolling for 499 credits. They should agree on the number of 499 credits and the goals the student is expected to accomplish for the quarter.

The student should complete Part I of this form and attach a one- to two-page description of the proposed project (written entirely by the student in paragraph form using complete sentences). The project description should include:


  1. The background of the project, this may also include citations to key papers on the topic

  2. The specific research question that will be addressed

  3. The experimental approach that will be used in general

  4. A brief description of how the results will be analyzed. Describe which aspects you (the student) will be performing independently. If this project is a part of a larger project, please make that clear

The proposal will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. Clarity and depth of the project description

  2. The student’s ability to place his/her research in a broader context

  3. The demonstration of the student’s facility with the concept, methodologies, and questions in the field of study

  4. Student’s articulation of his/her responsibilities and how they relate to the overall research project

The student should give the completed form and project description to one of the Biology Department advisers in Hitchcock 318. The adviser will forward the application to the appropriate Biology Department faculty, who will review it to see if the research efforts are appropriate to count toward the major. If approved, the application will be returned to the adviser for inclusion in the student’s file.

* For Assistance in writing your proposal, use your resources around you like your PI and especially the Writing Center in Odegaard Undergraduate Library, Room 326.



University of Washington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor Agreement and Project Description

Academic Year this will take place ________-_______

499 credits outside the department of Biology can not be changed to Biology 499 Biology credit/s. These credits can count toward advanced electives under any Option in Biology. Lab credit will be given when 4 or more credits are accumulated on the same project.

PART I: To be completed by the student (The student is responsible for registering for the 499 course)


Student Name ______________________________________ Student I.D. # _____________
UW Net Id _____________ Dept the 499 course is located _______ Dept Honors -Yes__ No__
How many total credits plan to do on this project? _____ How many quarters? _____
SUM ___ Credits ____ AUT ___ Credits ____ WIN ___ Credits ____ SPR ___ Credits ____
Project Title:____________________________________________________________________

PART II: To be completed by the faculty sponsor

Faculty Sponsor ______________________________ Department _____________________

UW Faculty Title______________________________

UW Net Id _______________________________ Phone __________________________



I agree to sponsor this undergraduate research project. I understand that the student is expected to spend approximately 3 hours per week for each registered credit and participate in a defined research project. I have met with the student to discuss the project design and goals and have read the student’s project description, written entirely by the student, which is attached to this application.
Faculty Sponsor Signature ____________________________________ Date _____________
PART III: To be completed by the Biology Department faculty

Review by the Biology Department Faculty: ___ Approve ___ Deny _____ Revise


Biology Department Faculty Signature_____________________________ Date____________
It’s preferable that you attach your project description to this form before obtaining faculty sponsor's signature.

Rev. 10/7/11


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