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Information for students

Biology Colloquium Project

BIOL 1093, Biology Colloquium: Directed Study


  1. In order to do a project, you must have already taken the Biology Colloquium class (Biol 1020). You may register twice for BIOL 1020 and take BIOL 1093 concurrently with the second semester of BIOL 1020.
  2. Projects are worth one semester credit.
  3. Due to the University's definition of one credit, the minimum time requirement is three hours per week, or a total of 45 hours per semester. Time and depth of involvement beyond this is encouraged, but not required.
  4. Projects cannot be affiliated with paid employment. Current jobs in labs, hospitals, etc., will not be approved due to University policy. Projects are strictly volunteer positions, but may and often do lead to paying positions.
  5. An on-line reporting system will allow the student to write a short summary of progress at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. These reports will need to be approved by the student’s immediate supervisor, the faculty sponsor, and the BCQ advisor or BCQ Coordinator.
  6. The final report will be a short (ten minute) presentation to the Biology Colloquium class at the end of the semester.

What to do

  1. Identify areas of interest: Research opportunities are available in areas of medicine, animal sciences, microbiology, ecology, plant biology, biochemistry, genetics, and many other areas. There are projects available in every biology-related department, so pick one in which you are truly interested. Off-campus opportunities also exist.
  2. Find a faculty sponsor: As part of the BIOL 1020 class, students will learn how to use resources such as the Experts@Minnesota webpage to find faculty working in particular areas of interest. Although some have minimum course requirements, many accept undergraduates who may have little biology background.
  3. Contact a potential faculty sponsor: In the BIOL1020 class, students will learn about “Tips for Contacting Faculty”. Typically, a student would send an e-mail with a brief description of their interests, work experience, and relevant coursework. The student would meet with the faculty member to discuss the course requirements and a possible project.
  4. Obtain a permission number: Once a research sponsor has been identified, the student should inform the BCQ advisor of the name of the faculty sponsor and the immediate supervisor in the lab. The BCQ advisor will issue a permission number to register for BIOL1093. 
  5. Complete project: The student will submit on-line reports three times during the semester, each of which will need approval by the immediate supervisor, the faculty sponsor, and the BCQ advisor or another designated member of the BCQ leadership team.
  6. Check in with BCQ Student Leader or Coordinator: Project students will meet once or twice during the semester with a BCQ Student Leader or Coordinator to discuss progress with the project, possible problems, and to plan for the final report.
  7. Present project: The student will give a short (10 minute) presentation to the BIOL 1020 class or to the BCQ leadership group. One member of the audience should provide written feedback to the student. The student should send the PowerPoint presentation to the BCQ advisor who will issue the final grade.

Biol 1093 – BCQ Project: Tips for finding projects

There are many ways to look for possible projects and faculty sponsors.  Here are some good places to start: