In BIOL-537, students work on their own independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Biology Department or from a professor cross-appointed to the Biology Department.. In this course, students gain experience in the full range of activities involved in doing research in Biology, including project design, data analysis and interpretation, literature review, scientific writing, oral presentation and interactive collaboration with colleagues. Assessment is based in part on the submission and defence of a thesis. BIOL-537 is a particularly valuable course for students who are planning to go on to graduate school, or a career involving scientific research.
Eligibility and enrolment limits - Only students who are registered in a Biology Honours (BSCH) program are eligible to take BIOL-537. In BIOL-537, students are not just taking a course; they are also collaborating in the research program of a faculty member. Hence, faculty make BIOL-537 offers to students based on the strength of the student’s application. Enrolment in the course is limited by the number of offers that faculty are prepared to make.
Students are registered in BIOL-537 during the fall and winter terms. Depending on the requirements of the project, however, some students may begin their BIOL-537 research in the previous spring / summer terms. Often, this opportunity is combined with employment as a summer technician in the supervisor’s research lab. Note, however, that students and their supervisors must ensure that the student’s application for the course has been approved (see below) before the student commences work on a BIOL-537 project.
Workload expectations - Because the course is worth 12.0 units, students are normally expected to devote approximately 40% of their academic time to BIOL-537 over the fall and winter terms, although this may be negotiated with the supervisor depending on the employment arrangements and amount of work accomplished in the previous summer.
Application - Application is usually made in February while students are in their third year. At that time, students are notified about the application process. Details for 2012-13 will be posted at a later date. The details will include a list of faculty who are interested in supervising BIOL-537 research projects, possible project descriptions and contact information. Once you have decided which faculty and research areas you are interested in, you can fill in the application form. Sometime later in the winter term (usually end of March), applicants are notified regarding their acceptance in BIOL-537.