Independent Study Resources

Guidelines for Independent Study Courses in Biophysics

BIOPHYS 399: Research in Biophysics. 1-4 credits. This course number is used for an individualized research experience in biophysics under the guidance of a biophysics faculty member. If a non-biophysics faculty member serves as the principal mentor, a biophysics faculty member must be identified as a co-mentor. Students need permission from their biophysics faculty mentor before they can enroll in this course.

The student is expected to work on a research project under the direct supervision of the faculty mentor, who accepts responsibility for all aspects of the student’s work. A typical average weekly workload for the student is three times the number of credit hours. The faculty mentor may delegate some day-to-day supervisory functions to a post-doc or graduate student, but the mentor is nonetheless expected to meet regularly with the student and monitor his or her progress. The mentor is also responsible for assigning a grade at the end of the semester. In case of co-mentorship for a project under the guidance of a non-biophysics faculty member, the biophysics co-mentor is expected to take responsibility for the overall appropriateness of the project, ensure that the principal mentor fulfils his or her mentoring obligations towards the student, and, in consultation with the principal mentor, assign a grade.

At the end of the semester, the student will submit a one-page report on his or her research project to the faculty mentor, who will submit a copy to the Biophysics business office for program records.

Multimer Formation

Computational BioPhysics

BIOPHYS 415: Independent Study in Biophysics. 1-4 credits. This course number is used for individualized instruction in biophysics in lieu of a regular classroom course. The primary purpose is to allow instructors to teach courses on subjects that are not in the course catalog in a one-on-one format. In exceptional cases, such as when the program is unable to offer a particular course in a timely manner for a student to graduate, courses that are already in the course catalog for regular classroom instruction may be offered in this format as well. In any case, the instructor is expected to meet regularly with the student in person; this responsibility cannot be delegated.

Before a student can enroll in this course, the faculty member who wishes to teach it must submit a syllabus that includes the required work and the grading standards to the Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program for approval. At the end of the semester, the instructor assigns a grade for the course and submits copies of the student’s work on which the grade is based to the Biophysics business office for the records of the program.

BIOPHYS 498: Senior Thesis in Biophysics. 1-4 credits. This course is intended for students who turn their research into a formal thesis. Therefore, it generally requires prior research work in Biop 399 or an equivalent course or program, although the continuation and conclusion of this prior research in the framework of Biop 498 is appropriate. The senior thesis is intended to satisfy the LSA upper-level writing requirement, and must conform to the standards for such theses as set by the Sweetland Center for Writing, and shall be no less than 30 pages in length.

To register for this course number, approval by a biophysics faculty member is required. At the end of the semester, this instructor assigns a grade. The student submits a copy of the thesis to the Sweetland Center for Writing for upper-level writing requirement credit, and a second copy to the Biophysics business office for the records of the program.

BIOPHYS 499: Honors Thesis in Biophysics. 1-4 credits. An honors thesis with a grade of B+ or better is required for an Honors degree in Biophysics. The honors thesis is similar to the senior thesis, and all the requirements of Biop 498 apply. The expectations for an honors thesis with respect to the originality and independence of the research, and the quality of the presentation are heightened, however. To uphold and ensure these standards, every honors thesis is read by an additional reader, who is assigned by the Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program. The reader certifies that the thesis meets the standards for an honors degree in Biophysics. A minimum length of 25 pages is appropriate.