Independent Research

Independent Research

Why Independent Research?

One of the exciting and rewarding experiences Wellesley offers is the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on an independent research project.  Research is the foundation for the knowledge you learn in your classroom.  Not only will you have the opportunity to participate in the process of discovery, but you will also have an opportunity to learn new techniques, to present orally or through posters, to think creatively and to problem solve.  Independent research offers an experience that is different from the labs attached to your courses.  Doing research is by far the best way to learn about science.

Many of our alumnae from the sciences cite undergraduate research with a faculty member as the single most influential factor in their choice of career. Talk to you peers and faculty members and learn more about doing independent research.

See below the different research options and make sure to visit FAQ regarding independent research.
 

You can choose from several different research options: 

Note: All research courses requires permission of the instructor.

BISC 250 Research or Individual Study
Semester Available: Fall, Spring 
Unit 1.0

BISC 250H Research or Individual Study
Semester Available: Fall, Spring
Unit 0.50

BISC 350 Research or Individual Study
Semester Available: Fall, Spring
Unit 1.0

BISC 350H Research or Individual Study
Semester Available: Fall, Spring
Unit 0.50

BISC 355, BISC 365 Biological Sciences Thesis Research
A two-semester investigation of a significant research problem that culminates in writing and defending a thesis. Does not lead to departmental honors.
Unit 1.0

BISC 360, BISC 370 Senior Thesis Research
A two-semester investigation of a significant research problem that culminates in writing and defending a thesis.  Typically requires a GPA of 3.5 in the major and leads to departmental honors.
Unit 1.0

Important Notes:

  • BISC 250 and BISC 250H are open to all students.  If you are starting research as a first year or a sophomore, consider BISC 250 or BISC 250H.
  • BISC 350 and BISC 350H are ordinarily taken by students who have taken at least 4 units in Biological Sciences.
  • Thesis research options, (BISC 355, BISC 365) and (BISC 360, BISC 370) are for seniors only. More information provided in Honors and Theses.

Click here for 2019-2020 Guide to Independent Research Booklet

Honors and Theses

Thesis in the Biological Sciences (BISC 355, BISC 365): The thesis program is a two-semester investigation of a significant research problem, culminating in the preparation of a written thesis and defense of that thesis before a faculty committee. The primary goals of the thesis project are the development of independent research capabilities, the improvement of scientific writing skills, and oral communication of scientific data. Independent research projects may be supervised by a member of the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences or an off-campus director. Please note that off-campus independent research experiences require active participation of a department faculty member throughout the research period. Advisor approval is required for acceptance into the thesis program.

 

Honors thesis in the Biological Sciences (BISC 360, BISC 370): Honors in the Biological Sciences is earned by the demonstration of excellence in both course work and a thesis research project.  All junior majors are invited to apply for the honors program. Advisor approval is required for acceptance into the thesis program and final acceptance is contingent upon a vote of the department faculty and a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in courses in the major above the 100 level. The primary goals of the thesis program are the development of independent research capabilities, the improvement of scientific writing skills, and oral communication of scientific data. Honors candidates prepare a written thesis and defend their thesis before an examination committee. After the oral examination, the thesis committee evaluates the candidate's performance and may recommend approval of the degree with honors in the major.

For Detailed Guidelines on (BISC 355, BISC 365) or (BISC 360, BISC 370) go to Departmental Honors Page.