One learns science best by doing science.
Most of the courses for the Biochemistry major have laboratories connected to the courses. In addition, a central part of our upper-level curriculum is a project-based lab course in Biochemistry (BIOC 320). We also encourage students to carry out research in collaboration with faculty either during the academic year or in the summer. In fact, over 80% of our majors engage in independent research with a faculty member during their time at the college. Wellesley has been very fortunate to receive funding from a number of foundations (such as the Beckman Foundation, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and Research Corporation) and government agencies (such as NSF, NIH and USDA), which support our student-faculty collaborative research.
Academic Year Research
Independent study (BIOC 250 or BIOC 350) can be carried out for one or two semesters with faculty mentors. Students typically read about a faculty member’s research on the Science Center web site and then talk to the faculty member about carrying out research in a particular laboratory.
Senior Thesis Research (BIOC 360) and Senior Thesis (BIOC 370) can be carried out in a student’s senior year. Students who have shown marked excellence in their major field may earn honors in the major, which involves writing an honors thesis and successfully passing an oral examination by a thesis committee. All majors will receive an email from the Director of Biochemistry in their second semester junior year explaining current policy for obtaining honors in the major. There is also an option for a thesis that does not lead to honors (BIOC 355/365).
Students are encouraged to apply for funding to carry out research during the summer either on- or off-campus. Over 100 students are involved with the Wellesley College Summer Research Program on campus each year. The Science Center Web page has application forms and information about funding for summer research. Students joining a new lab for the summer generally talk to a number of faculty whose research seems interesting to them before applying to the program. While some students begin their research experience in the summer, many faculty do give preference to students with previous experience in their lab for summer positions.