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Research Courses


All research courses are restricted to: Biology majors/2nd majors only.

Biology 395/495  – Undergraduate Research in Biology

Prerequisites: Must have completed BIOL 201 or 202.  CUM GPA of 2.00 or better

Credit Hours:  Variable (1-3)

Counts as: Experiential Education credit. 3-5 credit hours of research may be counted as one lecture course toward fulfillment of major requirements; 6 credit hours may be counted as one lecture course with laboratory toward fulfillment of major requirements.  BIOL 495 does NOT count as an upper level course towards the major.

BIOL 395 may be taken for no more than six graded academic credits. Additional semesters of research are taken as Biol 495, which is taken pass/fail. Additional hours of research course credit will be counted as elective hours toward graduation.  A research application has to be done for each semester of research.  Submit this application/transcript when you are preregistering for classes prior to the start of the semester.

Biology majors/2nd majors taking their second semester of BIOL 395 will be required to prepare a research poster and abstract summarizing their research.  This takes the place of the 10-page paper. These posters will be posted in the Genome Sciences Building lobby and students are required to be at their poster at a designated day/time towards the end of the semester to discuss their research.

A green BIOL 395 Research Poster application must be completed.  It is due the first day of classes.

After six credit hours of BIOL 395, students can continue doing research for credit by signing up for BIOL 495 (pass/fail and 10-page paper required).

Students must take 495 after taking either of these combinations: 295 (2 semesters), or 395 (2 semesters), or 295 and 395 (1 semester each), or 211 and 395 (1 semester each).

BIOL 395/495 is offered all semesters – Fall, Spring, Summer School I and Summer School 2.

The purpose of BIOL 395 is to provide students with research experience while working on a question of current biological interest.  Students will learn how science is practiced in a particular area of scientific endeavor, and will also make new discoveries.  Dr Gidi Shemer ( in 213A Coker Hall  is the director of the 395/495 program.  He reviews all research applications and makes the final approval.  Research is done under the supervision of a full-time faculty member in the Department of Biology or in another department on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus (for example in a medical school department or some other department that does biological research).  Students may enroll for 1-3 credit hours of BIOL 395 in any one semester. Each credit hour represents 3-4 hours of research per week, on average, during the Fall or Spring semester, so that students enrolled for 3 credit hours should spend 10-12 hours or more on the research per week.  During one summer school semester, 1 credit hour is equal to 45 hours of research, 2 credits = 90 hours of research and 3 credits = 135 hours of research.  Normally, students should take BIOL 395 for 3 credit hours.  Requests to register for 1-2 hours requires permission from Dr Shemer, and will granted only for special circumstances.

Students must identify a faculty member in the Department of Biology or in another department on the UNC-CH campus who has agreed to supervise the student’s research. If that person is outside the Department of Biology, the research must address a biological question, and a faculty sponsor from within the department must agree to monitor the student’s research experience. This is done by meeting with the student once per month during the course of the research to discuss the project and the student’s progress. Your sponsor can be a full-time Biology faculty member you have taken a class from or who has some knowledge of the area your research will be about. It is advisable to secure these supervisors well in advance.

A paper research application is required and it is available  from our Biology Registrar, Summer Montgomery  in the Student Services office (213 Coker Hall).  This application and a copy of your internal transcript pulled from Connect Carolina is due on the first day of classes.  No electronic applications will be accepted.  Please get the most updated form from 213 Coker.  There are two parts to the research application – the blue Biology department form and the Learning Contract that is required by the university.  After your research has been approved by Dr Shemer, the Biology Registrar will register you.

BIOL 395H – Undergraduate Research in Biology – Honors Course

Same as BIOL 395, except you have to attend a class that meets weekly. There is no 495H.  Offered in Fall & Spring only.  Enrollment is limited – get your application in early.  If BIOL 395H is full, you can plan to still do your research under BIOL 395.  For questions about BIOL 395H, contact Dr Shemer:

Student instructions – how to pull transcript

Biology Research Grading

Students participating in Biology research courses will be held to a standard as high as, if not higher than, the norm for any other graded course. The grade will be based on three aspects of a student’s performance:

(a) Fulfillment of required hours in the laboratory. Students are expected to spend on average 3-4 hours per week for each credit hour enrolled. Failure to complete the expected number of hours will reduce the grade.

(b) Performance in the laboratory context. Biology research courses are meant to promote student creativity and initiative even in projects that are already well-defined. At a minimum, students should seek to confirm their understanding of the project through discussions and readings, and should learn how to troubleshoot basic problems.

(c) Written report or research poster & abstract. Students must write a paper or abstract describing their research and submit a paper copy (not electronic)  to Summer Montgomery, Biology Registrar in 213 Coker Hall.  These papers/abstracts are due on the last day of classes in all semesters.  For those doing a poster, they must prepare and present their poster at a designated place/day/time.  The final grade will not be given until the signed final paper/abstract is turned in.  The paper should be in the format of a scientific paper, and should contain the following sections: i) an Introduction that describes the rationale for the research and the biological question it addresses; ii) a Methods section describing how the experiments were done; iii) a Results section showing any data obtained; and iv) a Discussion explaining what (if any) conclusions were reached from the experiments. Appropriate literature should be cited. For students who are taking this course to count towards their experiential learning requirement, the paper should be at least 10 double-spaced pages long, including figures and references.  In case you want to present data exceeding the 10-page limit, you can add it as an appendix.  This paper must be reviewed and approved by the research supervisor and, if applicable, the faculty sponsor from the Department of Biology.

Biology 211- Introduction to Research in Biology

Prerequisites: Must have completed BIOL 201 or 202. Not open to seniors. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.

Credit Hours:  3

Counts as: counts as one lecture course toward fulfillment of major requirements; 3 hours of BIOL 211 + 3 hours of BIOL 295/395/395H may be counted as one lecture course with laboratory toward fulfillment of major requirements. Students with BIOL 211 credit may take a maximum of three hours of BIOL 395.

Seminar based on current investigations at UNC. Students examine sources of scientific information, explore the logic of investigation, and develop proposals.


Biology 293 – Internship in Biology

Prerequisites: Must have completed BIOL 201 or 202. Permission of the instructor (Dr. Jennifer Coble) required.

Credit Hours:  3

Counts as:  Experiential Education credit. This course does NOT count towards the major.

Note that this is offered in Fall & Spring only.

Dr Jennifer Coble ( oversees all students and assigns the final grades.

The purpose of Biology 293 is to allow students to obtain experience in biological sciences resulting from off campus work. The experience in Biology can be in a research laboratory or field station or a company such as a pharmaceutical company which carries out biological research, or it can be in an educational setting such as a museum or national or state park or forest where the emphasis would be on how to communicate information about biology to the public or to students.  If appropriate, the student can be paid for the work.  Students must identify a place in which to carry out the internship get permission for Dr. Coble in advance (by early November for the spring semester and by early April for the summer or fall semester).  In general, the project should involve hands-on work by the student and not simply observation of someone else doing the work.   The student will need to spend at least 135 hours on the project. At the end of the project the student will write a 10 page paper describing the work on the project in a format to be determined by the sponsor and the course director.   The paper will be approved by the sponsor and the course director. The course grade will be determined by the course director.  A BIOL 293 internship application is available from our Biology  Registrar, Summer Montgomery in the Student Services office (213 Coker Hall), and is by the first day of classes. The form requires the signature of the research supervisor and a short description of your internship.  After you have returned the completed form to Dr Coble and she has approved your internship, the department will register you.


Biology 692H – Senior Honors Thesis in Biology

For more details:  http//

Dr Amy Shaub Maddox ( is the Biology Honors Director.