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Faculty Information

Different ways of conducting Undergraduate Research in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Senior Honors Thesis

A Senior Honors Thesis (SHT) is the most formal process of conducting undergraduate research. Students who choose to do a SHT do not need to be members of the Honors College.  The process involves:

  1. Find someone on the B&B Department faculty who agrees to be the thesis advisor. Faculty are available outside the B&B Department, however such thesis advisor require approval of the Director of Undergraduate Research.
  2. Obtaining the Honors Thesis "Verification of Eligibility Form" and the "Prospectus Approval Form" from the UH Office of Undergraduate Research (UHOUR), room 211 M. D. Anderson Library. The student must complete the "Verification" form and bring it to the B&B Department's Director of Undergraduate Research (BBDUR), room 124D Science Building. Complete the "Prospectus Approval Form", attach a copy of the prospectus, and obtain the necessary signatures. The forms are then returned to UHOUR. (Note: it is possible the prospectus may not be done at this time. Therefore, complete it and the approval process as soon as possible.)
  3. Students conducting SHT must register for either BIOL or BCHS 3399; 4399 in consecutive semesters. Students cannot register themselves. For each semester of registration the student must obtain and complete a General Petition form then sign and date it. The "Explanation of Request" area must have the project title, a one sentence explanation of what will be done, and a request to be enrolled in the appropriate course. The thesis advisor must approve, print his/her name, then sign and date the petition. The petition must be submitted to the BBDUR for completion of the registration process. Registration in the second semester of the sequence requires a repeat of the petition process. General petitions for enrollment must be submitted at least one week before the beginning of classes. The student should get a copy of the thesis guidelines down-loadable from the NSM Dean's web site. (Go to www.nsm.uh.edu, click on "Academics" and open "Academic Programs."
  4. In theory, students conduct laboratory or field work during the semester of enrollment in the 3399 course, then write the thesis in the 4399 semester. It doesn't always go that smoothly. Regardless, at the end of the semester of enrollment in 3399, the student's grade must be IP (not a letter grade). This IP remains until 4399 is complete. Completion of 4399 requires that the student has submitted the thesis for review by the thesis committee, the student has successfully defended the work in an oral defense, and that the thesis has been submitted for binding in the Office of the NSM Dean. When 4399 is complete a letter grade is assigned and a change of grade must also be submitted at that time to change the 3399 IP grade to the appropriate letter grade.
  5. Note: BCHS 3399; 4399 cannot be used as BCHS elective credit in the major, however BIOL 3399; 4399 may be used as BIOL elective credit in the major if the NSM Capstone requirement is met in some alternative manner.

Senior Project

A Senior Project (SP) is intended to be a substantial library research paper, but may include field or laboratory data.

  1. Find someone on the B&B Department faculty who agrees to be the thesis advisor. Faculty are available outside the B&B Department, however such thesis advisor require approval of the Director of Undergraduate Research.
  2. Students conducting SP must register for either BIOL or BCHS 3396; 4396 in consecutive semesters. Students cannot register themselves. For each semester of registration the student must obtain and complete a General Petition form then sign and date it. The "Explanation of Request" area must have the project title, a one sentence explanation of what will be done, and a request to be enrolled in the appropriate course. The SP advisor must approve, print his/her name, then sign and date the petition. The petition must be submitted to the BBDUR for completion of the registration process. Registration in the second semester of the sequence requires a repeat of the petition process. General petitions for enrollment must be submitted at least one week before the beginning of classes.
  3. The grade assigned to the 3396 course is IP. When the paper is submitted and accepted by the SP advisor, a letter grade is given for the 4396 course and a change of grade form must be submitted at that time to change the 3396 IP grade to the appropriate letter grade.
  4. Note: BCHS 3396; 4396 cannot be used as BCHS elective credit in the major, however BIOL 3396;4396 may be used as BIOL elective credit in the major if the NSM Capstone requirement is met in some alternative manner.

Special Problems Courses

Courses range from 4198 to 4498 and credit varies with the effort that is expected of the student. Students taking these courses typically take 4198, 4298 or 4398. (The student is expected to do scientific work, not clean glassware.) Students interested in this option must:

  1. Find a faculty member to work with and agree on the effort and credit level of the 4X98 course.
  2. Students cannot register themselves. The student must obtain and complete a General Petition form then sign and date it. The "Explanation of Request" area must have the project title, a one sentence explanation of what will be done, and a request to be enrolled in the appropriate course. The faculty (instructor of record) must approve, print his/her name, then sign and date the petition. The petition must be submitted to the BBDUR for completion of the registration process.
  3. The student must submit a report to the faculty member detailing the work done during the semester.
  4. Note: BCHS 4X98 cannot be used as BCHS elective credit in the major, however BIOL 4X98 may be used as BIOL elective credit in the major up to a maximum of 4 hours.

Volunteering

Students may participate in undergraduate research on a voluntary basis. Many do this just to get an idea what is involved and whether they are genuinely interested in such work. It is important that this effort is documented. Students must:

  1. Find a faculty member to work with and agree on the number of hours/week the student will work.
  2. The student must obtain and complete a General Petition form then sign and date it. The "Explanation of Request" area must have the project title, a one sentence explanation of what will be done, and state that this is a volunteer effort. The faculty (instructor of record) must approve, print his/her name, then sign and date the petition. The petition must be submitted to the BBDUR for documentation purposes.
  3. The student must submit a report to the faculty member detailing the work done during the semester.