Investigative Biology

The Investigative Biology Requirement

All students in the Biology major must complete the Investigative Biology requirement, which is an upper-level research experience involving a specific subdiscipline of biology. To ensure you will complete this requirement, be sure to plan for your research early – at least two quarters in advance.

There are three ways to complete this requirement:

  1. B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology)
  2. B BIO 499 (Undergraduate Research) or similar; must be approved
  3. Non-credit research (internships, etc.); must be approved

Please keep in mind the following points:

  • You are allowed to take any combination of these options. Additional research credit can be applied towards the Biology Elective requirement of your degree.
  • B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology) can act as a good introduction before pursuing additional research with B BIO 499.
  • A maximum of 10 research credits can be applied to Biology degree requirements. Research beyond 10 credits counts towards the 180-credit minimum to earn a degree, but fulfills no other requirements.

Option 1 – B BIO 495 (Investigative Biology)

This course automatically fulfills the Investigative Biology requirement. There are two B BIO 495 courses offered every autumn, winter, and spring quarter, and usually one in summer.

To take this class, please visit the time schedule as soon as it is posted. Space is limited to 12 students per class and you must contact the instructor to ask for permission to join.

Each instructor has a different area of expertise. Visit the faculty profiles below for contact information and to find out more about their research:

Option 2 – B BIO 499 (Undergraduate Research) or similar

You may complete 5 credits of B BIO 499 research to fulfill the requirement. Other research for credit, such as B CHEM 499, may also be used as long as the research is biology-related. Most research faculty prefer that students spread these credits over two or more quarters.

See below for a step-by-step guide for options 2 and 3.

Option 3 – Non-credit research experience

You may use 150 hours or more of a non-credit biology research experience (usually an internship, volunteering, or professional work) to fulfill the requirement. If you find a research opportunity, please talk with your academic advisor to see if might work for the requirement.

See below for a step-by-step guide for options 2 and 3.


Steps for options 2 and 3

There are five steps to having your research count for the Investigative Biology requirement:

  1. Talk with your academic advisor to learn more. Schedule an appointment.
  2. Find a research opportunity. Visit our Research & Internships page.
  3. If the research is for credit, complete a BBIO 498/499 Request.
  4. In consulation with your research mentor, petition to have the research count for the requirement. Complete an Investigative Biology Petition.
  5. Present your research. Sign up for a School of STEM Research Symposium.