Undergraduate Research – MCDB 199A-D

Directed 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 199ABCD.  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 199A-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 199A-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:

  • MCDB 199A-D work must be experimental laboratory research and not a literature search, literature evaluation, or survey work.  Familiarity with the scientific literature is essential, and must be part of any independent research project, 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 199A-D per quarter.  One unit of credit corresponds to three hours of work per week.  To receive four units of credit, you should therefore anticipate putting in at least 12 hours of work per week toward your project.
  • A maximum of 12 units of any permissible combination of MCDB 199A-D or 198A-D credit may be applied toward the MCDB major.
  • Enrollment in MCDB 199A-D courses is not offered during Summer Sessions.

MCDB 199A-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 199A and then 199B 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 199B (not before the end of the second quarter).  Your transcript will always show an IP (in progress) grade for MCDB 199A and eight units of the grade assigned for the 199B 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.

MCDB 199C and 199D:

  • For MCDB 199C and 199D, you must write a follow-up proposal which outlines the specific one-quarter project you will do and explains how it relates to your 199A-B project.
  • Enrollment is limited.  Any individual faculty member can take on no more than seven students in any one MCDB research course per quarter.  If more than seven students apply for 199A with a particular faculty member, enrollment will be limited to the first seven students whose applications were received in the MCDB Undergraduate Office.  Please be sure that your sponsor has signed your proposal, and that the time and date of your application are noted when you turn it in.