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Receiving Credit for Research and Internships

Independent Research (BIO 493) and Honors Independent Research (BIO 494) involve research under the direction of a faculty member and typically are pursued by students with Junior or Senior status for one course unit/semester (although students may enroll for a half course unit). A two-semester project is recommended for each of the above.

Complete List of Requirements and Expectations for Students Enrolled in Independent Study

Biology Internship (Biol 399) is organized and administered by Dr. Erickson. Internship involves application of intellectual and laboratory research skills acquired in previous course work to an investigation project at a site off campus (such as local research companies, universities, research centers and field stations). Emphasis is on an efficiently-conducted research project as well as effective oral and written communication skills. The course typically is taken for one course unit.

Transfer Credit.  Students who participate in undergraduate summer research programs at other colleges, universities, or research centers may be able to obtain independent study credit through the sponsoring institution.  See Undergraduate Bulletin for details concerning transfer credit at TCNJ.

Requirements for all courses:
Please consult below to see if there are additional requirements for your specific course.

  1. Student must have at least a 2.5 GPA in sciences in order to enroll.
  2. Student should have achieved Junior status, but exceptions may be made.
  3. A seminar or poster presentation of the research must be presented to the Department.
  4. Formal research paper about the project must be submitted in order to obtain credit.
  5. One course unit may count toward the Biology Option requirement. Subsequent credits count as Electives. You may take up to a total of 4 course units.

Course specific requirements:

For BIO 399:
Apply for and obtain admission to an internship program. If the program is not administered by the Department of Biology, approval of the program by Dr. Erickson is required.

  1. Submit an application form to Dr. Erickson.
  2. Obtain approval of the specific project from Dr. Erickson.
  3. Submit progress reports to Dr. Erickson as required.
  4. A research seminar must be presented. 

For BIO 493:

  1. Obtain the agreement of an Independent Study Mentor (usually a Biology faculty member) before registering for the course.
  2. Complete and submit a contract to (forms available from the Department of Biology or Records and Registration).
  3. Submit with the contract a research proposal (completed in conjunction with the faculty mentor), which outlines the objectives and methods involved in the project.

For BIO 494:

  1. Student must be a member in good standing in the Honors Program.
  2. Obtain the agreement of an Independent Study Mentor (usually a Biology faculty member) before registering for the course.
  3. Complete and submit a contract (forms available from the Department of Biology or Records and Registration).
  4. Submit with the contract a research proposal (completed in conjunction with the faculty mentor).
  5. Credit for this course applies to the Honors program as well as toward Biology Options. 

Guidelines for Biology Independent Study

Basic requirements:

  1. attendance at laboratory meetings
  2. maintenance of a laboratory notebook
  3. attendance at departmental seminars
  4. work load commensurate with credit hours (work load is assumed to be a minimum 12 hrs lab/field per week)
  5. presentation of a research poster to the department
  6. submission to the department of a final research paper written in a style suitable for a scientific journal

Students will be given a grade of IP until the project is completed. The following criteria will be used in assigning a letter grade to a student’s performance, once all requirements have been met. For the final grade, pluses and minuses may be given based upon the level of accomplishment within a grade level. A student that fails to meet the basic requirements and/or does not produce a research paper or poster will not pass.

A = Excellent Performance

  • engages in persistent, hard work
  • displays independent intellectual and technical involvement in work
  • has an excellent grasp of technical and theoretical aspects of research
  • makes project his or her own; makes creative contribution to design and analysis of experiments
  • maintains an excellent lab notebook with up-to-date recording, tabulating, and analysis of data
  • displays critical thinking in lab meetings
  • final poster presentation and written research paper are of excellent to outstanding quality

B = Good Performance

  • engages in persistent, hard work
  • exhibits ability to work independently and demonstrates technical independence
  • delivers a very solid performance and completely reliable and reproducible experimental work
  • gives competent presentations in lab meetings
  • maintains a clear, organized lab notebook
  • final poster presentation and written research paper are of good to very good quality

C = Average performance

  • engages in persistent, hard work
  • performance in experimental work is fair to poor
  • demonstrates an ability to work with limited supervision
  • lab notebook displays evidence of confusion and is inadequately maintained
  • participation in lab and lab meetings is of low quality
  • final poster presentation and written research paper are of fair quality

D = Poor Performance

  • performance is inadequate or sloppy
  • displays inability to work without direct supervision
  • has an inadequate grasp of the technical aspects of the work
  • does not maintain an organized research notebook
  • poster and paper are unclear and poorly organized and presented
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