student using microscope
Aiden Masters ‘23 using electrophysiology to decode ant smell receptors in his independent research.

Course Information

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0500, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (BIOL 0211. Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. (BIOL 0211. Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis
Seniors majoring in Biology who have completed one or more semesters of BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 and who plan to complete a thesis should register for BIOL 0701. In this course students will produce a written thesis, deliver a public presentation of the research on which it is based, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0211 and BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Goals

  • Provide students with an opportunity to conduct independent research in biology.
  • Provide students the opportunity for close (one-on-one) contact with the faculty advisor for their research.
  • Promote opportunities for interactions among students across disciplines.
  • Provide opportunities for students to interact with seminar speakers and other departmental visitors.

Research students are expected to:

  • Prepare and submit a budget and full budget justification at the beginning of the semester detailing the expected expenses of the research project. This will be approved by the advisor and department chair. A photocopy of the budget will be made by the department coordinator before being returned to the student.  It is your responsibility to read and adhere to all of the funding guidelines presented on the “Funding Your Research” and “Preparing Your Budget” pages.
  • Attend all meetings and present results/progress report on research efforts once per semester.
  • Attend all departmental seminars, and participate in the informal interactions with seminar speakers when appropriate.
  • Spend at least 1 additional contact hour per week with advisor, alone and/or in lab group meetings.

Helpful Instructions

Deciding to do a Thesis

If you make satisfactory progress on an independent study project that requires more than one semester to complete and you wish to write a thesis and present your research in a more public forum, you may apply to continue your work for one additional semester as a senior thesis. The typical schedule for thesis work would involve enrolling in BIOL 700 during fall semester of your senior year and BIOL 701 during the spring semester.  Other schedules are possible, however, and should be discussed with your faculty research advisor.

Enrolling in BIOL 701 (or the equivalent MBBC or NSCI thesis course) and conducting your work in the context of a senior thesis changes the nature of the expectations placed on you.  By submitting the intent to continue thesis form and enrolling in BIOL 701, you are agreeing to accept those additional responsibilities. Because thesis work is a distinct class, note that a decision to pursue a thesis is subject to the same add/drop deadlines of any other course— you cannot therefore decide NOT to do a thesis after the drop deadline of the semester in which are enrolled in BIOL 701 without petitioning the Administration Committee!

Deadlines

Non-thesis projects or the semester before a thesis is finished

  Fall ‘22 Winter ‘23 Spring ‘23
Submit draft funding request to advisor Sept. 21    
Submit funding request to Chair Sept. 23    
SRPS due TBA    
Thesis declaration form for Winter thesis Oct. 7 NA NA
Thesis declaration form for Fall/Spring thesis Dec. 9 Feb. 2 May 12

Semester when completing a thesis

  Fall ‘22 Winter ‘23 Spring ‘23
Start to schedule presentations early Oct   Early Mar
Presentations scheduled Oct. 10   Mar. 10
Schedule defense Oct. 14   Mar. 17
Submit presentation title and photo Oct. 17   Mar. 27
Submit written thesis to committee 3 days before 1st pres.    
Public presentation of thesis Dec. 5-9 Jan. 26-31 May 1-12
Submit final thesis to Biol. coordinator last weekday of exams    

Course Director

Fall 2022-Spring 2023
Erin Eggleston
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 309a
eeggleston@middlebury.edu
802-443-5779

Meeting Format

The design of these courses recognizes that there are three “spheres of interaction” in which students and faculty participate: (1) one-on-one contact between student and advisor, (2) interactions among all students and faculty with common research interests, and (3) interactions among all members of the biology department and between the biology department and its guests. We have designed a variety of meetings within BIOL 500/700/701 in order to promote all three interactions. You are required to attend the following meetings.

General Schedule

One day a week (see subgroup head for specific day) 12:30-1:20: reserved for meetings of students & faculty within sub-disciplines. These intra-disciplinary meetings might utilize a variety of formats, but will probably include student presentations, discussions of methodological issues, brainstorming or problem-solving sessions. Students should attend meetings of the sub-discipline that is most appropriate for their research.

One day a week (usually W) 12:30-1:20: reserved for meetings between students and their advisor. This may take the form of one-on-one meetings, or lab group meetings. This meeting will be scheduled by the advisor, and students should consult with their advisor to determine the format and scheduling of this meeting.

Friday 12:30-1:20: Reserved for departmental seminarsResearch students are required to attend all departmental seminars, including seminars scheduled during time periods other than this Friday time slot. Informal lunches or other gatherings between speakers and small groups of interested students will also be scheduled whenever possible.