MCDB 196A & 196B: Proposal Guidelines

  • Proposals should be one-page, typed with 1-inch margins, single-spaced, and 11-pt Arial font
  • Proposals should have a heading that lists the following information:
    • Title of proposed project
    • Student name, UID, and email address (same one on file with the Registrar)
    • Faculty research mentor’s full name, department, and email address
  • The proposal should be written in your own words, reflecting your understanding of the project. If you utilize materials written by someone else, such as sections of a grant proposal or research article, make sure you cite them appropriately (include in-text citations plus a bibliography). It is a form of academic dishonesty to turn in material written by someone else without giving them proper credit.
  • The intent in writing a research project proposal is to convince a review panel such as the undergraduate curriculum committee that the topic and approach are sound and have a clear relationship to previous work in the same field. Students should spend considerable time thinking about their projects, discussing their projects with their research mentors, and producing multiple drafts of the proposal since the quality of this document influences whether or not the application is approved.
  • The proposed project should be appropriate in scope for a 20-week project (10 weeks in 196A plus 10 weeks in 196B) and reflect accomplishments expected by both student and faculty advisor.
  • A proposal should begin with a problem statement – a clear description of the larger problem within which the research project is situated.
  • A description of the project should follow. This should include a rationale for the project that incorporates existing bodies of literature (published works) that will set the project into context, showing how the proposed work builds upon previous studies. This discussion should set the stage for the hypothesis(es) to be tested. The description should incorporate specific aims explaining what you plan to accomplish and how. This section should include a succinct account of methods that will be used to generate data (how will the data be collected and subsequently analyzed?) as well as a justification for why this approach is appropriate (how does it address your hypothesis or address the research question?).
  • The proposal must make clear the precise role that the student will play in the lab, including how much and what part of the data collection will be completed.
  • The project should reasonably fit the research and writing components within a two-quarter framework imposed by 196A and 196B and require no less than 12 hours per week in the lab. The faculty advisor should provide an estimate of approximately how many hours per week (for the duration of one quarter) the proposed project is expected to involve. That estimate should be included in the project proposal.
  • Append the project proposal to the undergraduate research acknowledgement form, and faculty mentor agreement with signatures from both student and faculty advisor, and submit materials to the MCDB Undergraduate Office by 5:00 PM on Friday of 6th week.
  • Project proposals will be reviewed by departmental curriculum committee. Students will be informed of their decision within 3 weeks of submitting application.