How to Setup an Independent Study

  • Identify a faculty mentor

Browse the faculty listings for the Department of Cell Biology and the Cell and Molecular Biology Program, then contact potential faculty sponsors and meet with them to discuss possible projects. If you need help identifying a faculty sponsor, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Sharyn Endow (office hours: currently by Zoom, email for appointment).

  • Define a research project

Become familiar with your faculty sponsor’s research by working in the laboratory for at least a semester, either as a Work/Study student or volunteer. Then discuss a research project for Independent Study with your faculty sponsor. With guidance by your faculty sponsor, you should write a brief paragraph describing in your own words a research project that can be completed in 1-2 or more semesters, including your role in the project. The hours per week that you spend on the project should be specified (usually 10-12 hours per week of lab work and 1-2 hours per week of reading/discussion). A presentation of your findings and a paper at the end of the semester is also usually required, together with weekly or biweekly meetings with your supervisor or faculty sponsor. The time commitments and other expectations for the project should be discussed with your faculty mentor prior to obtaining permission to enroll in Independent Study.

  • Obtain permission to enroll in Independent Study

Download the application: 

to begin an independent study in Cell Biology. Take the completed form to Dr. Sharyn Endow, Director of Undergraduate Studies, in room 246 Sands for her signature. With the completed form, she will provide a section and permission number to enroll in Independent Study, so you can receive a grade and credit for the course. To receive a University writing credit, plan to enroll in Biology 495. To apply for Graduation with Distinction in Biology for your research in the Department of Cell Biology, click here.