MCDB 199 – Drafts, Reports and Grading


8-week Draft: 5:00PM, Wednesday, of 8th week

Final Paper: 5:00PM, Friday of Finals Week

General Information:

  • There is no specific required format for MCDB 199 papers, but you must follow either an established journal format (Cell, Development, Nature, etc.), or a format designated by your faculty mentor.
  • Meet with your faculty mentor EARLY in the process to discuss his/her preferred format.  Your faculty mentor may require you to consult a particular journal’s website to review their publication guidelines.
  • If your faculty mentor does not have a preference as to which format you use to write your paper, the MCDB department would prefer that you follow the style of the journal Cell.  There is general information below regarding the Cell requirements.  For more detail, go to their website (www.cell.com/cell/home) click on the link for authors.  There are several types of articles listed – review the information for research articles.
  • After submitting the 8-week draft, it is the student’s responsibility to work with their faculty mentor to make any necessary edits before the final paper is submitted each quarter.
  • Grades for MCDB 199 are assigned by the student’s faculty mentor.

MCDB 199 Report Guidelines and Format Notes

Editorial Comments:

  • The paper should adequately capture and describe the research carried out during the 10-week quarter.
  • The paper should be in the format of a journal paper, or the format preferred by your faculty mentor.  The exact format outlined below need not be followed, but the paper should contain the information detailed in it.
  • Your paper should be long enough to capture and describe well the required information.
  • As an example, please see the format of the journal Cell:
    1. Title
    2. Authors
    3. Summary (abstract)
    4. Introduction
    5. Results
    6. Discussion
    7. Experimental Procedures
    8. Acknowledgements
    9. References
    10. Figure and Table Legends
    11. Figures and Tables
  • A Title Page should include the following information:
    • The title of your paper
    • Your name and UID.
    • The course number (MCDB 199), and the quarter.
    • Your research mentor’s full name, telephone extension and email address
  • The Introduction and Discussion sections should demonstrate knowledge of the larger field, and represent a mini-review of the topic of the paper.
  • The Experimental Procedures section is important in demonstrating the student’s understanding of the experimental system.
  • PLEASE NOTE:  It is not a requirement that experiments work or yield a publishable result.  It is important to analyze the experiments, and particularly in the case where few results were obtained, to suggest further experiments that might shed light on the problem.  For negative results it is important to indicate why your controls enabled you to conclude that the result was negative.  This can be included in the Discussion section of the paper.
  • The paper should reflect only the student’s own experiments and should be completely written by the student (a copy of a multi-authored publication or paper submitted for publication cannot be substituted for a 199 paper).
  • The paper must have been read by the research mentor of record prior to being submitted to the MCDB 199 course website.  An acknowledgement form signed by the faculty mentor must be submitted along with the thesis.  See complete instructions on submitting the draft and final papers below.


  • Both the 8-week draft and the final paper will be submitted to the course website (CCLE).
  • A Faculty Acknowledgement Form must be signed and dated by the faculty mentor each time a draft or final paper is submitted.   DO NOT turn-in the form that your faculty mentor signed for the draft when submitting the final paper two weeks later.
  • Each quarter, your final paper will be submitted to turnitin.com through the course website.
  • The course website will not be available until Friday of week 3 each quarter.  If, during week 4, you do not have access to the course website, please contact the MCDB Undergraduate Counselor at undergradmcdb@lifesci.ucla.edu.
  • The course website will have assignments detailed in week 8 and Finals Week.  Submission instructions and the downloadable Faculty Acknowledgement Form will be available on each assignment.


  • You will be required to turn-in a signed Faculty Acknowledgement form with the draft and final paper each quarter.  Your faculty mentor can sign this form electronically, but if he/she does not have an electronic signature or if they prefer to receive a hard-copy of your paper, after your faculty mentor signs the form, you should scan it and submit it along with your paper to the course website.
  • This procedure will require you to turn-in your paper to your faculty mentor (either through email or hard-copy) in time to obtain the signature on the Faculty Acknowledgement Form and then upload the signed form and your paper to the course website by the deadline.
  • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY THE 8-WEEK DRAFT OR FINAL IS DUE TO GET YOUR FACULTY MENTOR’S SIGNATURE.  You are writing a paper for your faculty mentor.  You must work out in advance with him or her a date to turn in the paper which takes into account his/her schedule (including trips out of town) and allows sufficient time for your faculty mentor to review your paper, sign your acknowledgement form, and return it to you so that you can upload your draft and final paper to the CCLE website along with the acknowledgement form.
  • Have a discussion with your direct supervisor in the lab and your faculty mentor at the beginning of your first quarter of MCDB 199 research to discuss:
  1. How they would prefer to receive your 8-week drafts and final papers (electronically through email or hard-copy).
  2. How far in advance of the MCDB department deadlines for the draft and final papers would they prefer to receive your paper and acknowledgment form.  Remember that you will need the signed acknowledgment form to submit your papers to the course website.
  3. Remember to check with your faculty mentor each quarter to find out if he/she will be out of town near the due dates for that quarter – if so, you may have to turn-in your paper earlier to obtain the signature before the deadline.
  • DO NOT CONTACT THE MCDB UNDERGRADAUTE COUNSELOR TO ASK FOR AN EXTENSION ON EITHER THE 8-WEEK DRAFT OR FINAL PAPER DEADLINE.  It is your responsibility to upload the signed acknowledgement form and paper to the course website by the assigned deadline.  This may mean that you will have to have your 8-week draft completed in week 6 or 7 because your faculty mentor is going out of town.  Please plan accordingly.

8-Week Draft:

  1. Turn-in your paper to your faculty mentor (either electronic or hardcopy) along with the Faculty Acknowledgement Form.  (This form is also available on the course website).
  2. After obtaining your faculty mentors signature on the form, submit the form along with the 8-week draft to the course website.  You will be able to upload two documents, one for the Faculty Acknowledgement form, and the other for the paper.

 Finals Week  – Final Paper

  1. Turn-in your paper to your faculty mentor (either electronic or hardcopy) along with the Faculty Acknowledgement Form.  (This form is also available on the course website).
  2. After obtaining your faculty mentors signature on the form, submit the form along with the final paper to the course website.  There will be an assignment labeled, “upload the SIGNED Faculty Acknowledgement Form”, and a TURNITIN.COM upload button for the paper.  Do not include the Faculty Acknowledgement Form with the turnitin.com submission.