Undergraduate Research – MCDB 198A-D

Honors Research in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

NOTE:  To enroll in these courses you will be required to sign an acknowledgement form confirming that you have read all the information detailed in all the webpage links under MCDB 198ABCD.  Please take the time to carefully review all of the information on these pages.

The Learning Objectives of MCDB Independent Research:

  • The requirements for MCDB 198A-D are designed to ensure that students learn how to:
    • build testable hypothesis;
    • propose experiments;
    • perform experiments;
    • analyze the data produced by the experiments;
    • record and report on the entire process in a scientific paper

MCDB 198A-C may potentially fulfill 12 units of your MCDB major requirements.  Twelve units out of approximately 45 required units – that is slightly over 25% of your major.

General Information:

  • 198A-C (but not 198D) are required in order to be eligible for Departmental Honors and Highest Honors.
  • Typically, these courses should be completed in your 4th or final year in the lab.  Departmental Honors are granted upon graduation.  Even if you complete the courses during your third year, you will not receive an honors designation until you graduate.
  • MCDB 198 work must be experimental laboratory research and not a literature search, literature evaluation, or survey work.  Familiarity with the scientific literature is essential and is part of the thesis.  It must be part of any independent research, but it should not be the only part.  We expect direct, hands-on laboratory exposure.
  • Students may enroll in a maximum of four units of MCDB 198 per quarter.  However, honors projects tend to be more demanding than the twelve hours of work per week, which would strictly correspond to four units of credit.  You should therefore anticipate putting in time and effort in proportion to what your honors research project demands (a good thing to discuss in advance with your research sponsor), but 12 hours of work per week is the minimum you should expect to spend.
  • Enrollment in MCDB 198 courses is not offered during Summer Sessions.

MCDB 198A-B:

  • Must be taken for at least two consecutive quarters, for a total of 8 units.
  • Has “In Progress” grading over two quarters.  Students must enroll in MCDB 198A, and then 198B the following quarter.  The two-quarter course can be initiated in FALL or WINTER, but not Spring quarter.  Unit credit and grades are given upon completion of 198B (not before the end of the second quarter).  Your transcript will always show an IP (in progress) grade for MCDB 198A and eight units of the grade assigned for the 198B course.
  • A research paper must be presented to your research sponsor each quarter, and submitted to the course website which will be downloaded by the MCDB Undergraduate Counselor.  Detailed instructions regarding the submission of the 8-week draft and final paper is available in the “Drafts, Reports & Grading” section.  These papers should build toward the Honors Thesis.

MCDB 198C and 198D:

  • These courses are single quarter research, but should be encompassed in the original project proposal written for honors research (MCDB 198A-B-C).  Enrollment in MCDB 198C or 198D is not permitted unless 198A-B has been satisfactorily completed.
  • During your final quarter of research (either MCDB 198C or 198D), you will not be required to submit an 8-week draft.  However, you must turn in a final version of your complete thesis by 5:00PM on WEDNESDAY OF 9TH WEEK.
  • If you are completing MCDB 198D in the FALL quarter, but you will be participating in the Commencement ceremony the previous Spring quarter, to be eligible to receive Departmental Honors at Commencement, you must turn in your final thesis while enrolled in MCDB 198C.