Investigative Biology

Investigative Biology Requirement

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


Options for completion

There are three options for completing this requirement:

  1. BBIO 495 (Investigative Biology)
  2. BBIO 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 can take more than one of these options! Additional research credit can be applied towards the Upper Divison Biology Electives of your degree.
  • BBIO 495 (Investigative Biology) can act as a great introduction before pursuing more in-depth research with BBIO 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 – BBIO 495 (Investigative Biology)

BBIO 495 automatically fulfills the Investigative Biology requirement - no petition is required! There are at least two BBIO 495 courses offered every autumn, winter, and spring quarter, and usually one in summer. Space is limited to 12 students per course. You will present your research findings as a group at the School of STEM Research Symposium at the end of the quarter.

There are three steps to having your Undergraduate Research count for the Investigative Biology requirement:

  1. Find an Investigative Biology course. Visit the time schedule as soon as it is posted for the quarter you want to take the course.
  2. Get instructor permission to join. To take this class, you must contact the instructor to ask for permission to join. Instructor email addresses are posted under the course details of each BBIO 495 section.
  3. Register for the course. Once you have permission to join, the instructor will provide you with an add code so that you are able to register yourself.

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 – BBIO 499 (Undergraduate Research) or similar

You may complete 5 credits of BBIO 499 research to fulfill the requirement. Other research for credit, such as BCHEM 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.

There are four steps to having your Undergraduate Research count for the Investigative Biology requirement:

  1. Find a research opportunity. Visit our Research & Internships page.
  2. Register for the credit. Complete a BBIO 499 Request.
  3. Submit a petition. In consulation with your research faculty, petition to have the research count for the requirement. Complete an Investigative Biology Petition.
  4. Present your research. You may present at the School of STEM Research Symposium or a similar event at UW Bothell or eslewhere. You must have documentation of having presented if you do so elsewhere. Sign up for the STEM Research Symposium.

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.

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

  1. Find a research opportunity. Try searching around for internships, volunteer experiences, or even paid positions at hospitals, clinics, biotechnology companies, environmental consulting firms, or government agencies. Check out our Trello Info Board and the UW Handshake platform for regular updates on possible experiences. You can ask your academic advisor to check if the experience might be a good fit for the requirement.
  2. Submit a petition. In consulation with your research faculty, petition to have the research count for the requirement. Complete an Investigative Biology Petition.
  3. Present your research. You may present at the School of STEM Research Symposium or a similar event at UW Bothell or eslewhere. You must have documentation of having presented if you do so elsewhere. Sign up for the STEM Research Symposium.