Students (usually juniors or seniors) may apply for a one-semester research experience for academic credit (BIOL 297 or 298). If you want to gain some experience with carrying out research in a particular field of biology, a semester of independent research can be a good introduction to the types of methods and approaches used in that area. Or if you can’t fit honors research into your academic schedule (one course each semester plus WSP), one semester of independent research can also give you valuable research experience. (These research projects are often more limited in scope than honors research and culminate in a research paper rather than an honors thesis.) Some students have even done independent research for one semester during their junior year and then gone on to do honors research their senior year in a different lab.
The application process is the same as for honors research. The application form and deadlines are available here.
Evaluation of your independent research project is done solely by your research advisor and is based on your day-to-day performance in the lab, the quality of your final research paper, and other criteria your advisor may set for you. There is no standard requirement for any public presentation of your research, however if your advisor and/or you desire to do so you may present your research orally (in the fall semester) or as a poster (in the spring semester) along with students carrying out honors research.
Reminder: only one research course may count toward the nine courses required for the BIOL major.