Research credits allow you to join a group of people interested in scientific interests similar to yours, learn from scientific mentors and develop personal relationships with senior scientists. These relationships allow senior scientists to speak to your unique skills and characteristics, which can be helpful for job and professional school references. Up to 3 credits of research can count as a 400-level elective for MB majors and up to 3 credits of MB 401 or BHS 401 can count for an upper-division science elective for BHS majors with no option.
MB 401 and BHS 401 Research Credit
MB 401 and BHS 401 Research Credit
Learn more about research opportunities
Students interested in signing up for MB 401 or BHS 401 research credit are responsible for locating a research professor who will agree to serve as a mentor before beginning their research. Prior to asking a research professor to work in their lab, learn about the work they do through the Microbiology Department’s faculty web page. Be ready to explain why you are specifically interested in their work. For information on how to contact researcher professors for opportunities in their labs, see the guidance provided by OSU’s amazing URSA program, visit their office in LINC 466, or go to their drop-in advising for advice.
Research could include wet-lab work or computational lab work. If a student wishes to earn MB 401 or BHS 401 credit for working with a professor who is not listed as on the Microbiology Department’s faculty web page, they need to send a 1-paragraph project summary describing the work along with your mentor’s name and department to the MB 401/BHS 401 course coordinator (Dr. Evans) for approval.
Research projects undertaken for MB 401 credits must have a basis in microbiology. BHS 401 projects must have a basis in biology, chemistry, microbiology, or biochemistry. MB 401 and BHS 401 projects must be projects in which the student has a substantive intellectual investment in the work. Students who are working in lab doing directed tasks such as conducting routine assays, preparing media, maintaining lab equipment, entering data, or other basic lab tasks that are not sufficiently involved or independent to constitute research should register for MB 201 (Laboratory Skills) instead of MB/BHS 401 (Research).
MB 401 is not a course you attend at a specific time like typical classes. You and the research professor with whom you have arranged to work determine your schedule and project goals. Prior to the start of each project, we recommend that the student sit down with their mentoring professor or laboratory supervisor to determine a statement of goals for the term, as well as a weekly schedule for the lab work.
After arranging to work in a research professor’s lab, an override into the MB 401 or BHS 401 course must be requested by the mentoring professor on behalf of the student. The override is completed by the MB departmental office staff and should be requested by the mentoring professor via email. This will require the student's name, OSU ID#, term in which the student will be conducting the research and the number of credits. After the override is issued then the student may sign up for the agreed-upon number of credits.
For any questions about how to obtain an override, contact Dr. Evans. Students should register for MB 401 or BHS 401 credits prior to the start of the term in which they wish to conduct research, as you would do for other classes.
All students who sign up for MB 401 or BHS 401 credits are expected to spend a minimum of 3 hours per week for 10 weeks (or an equivalent number of hours in the summer) for each credit of research per term. For a 10-week term, this equates to 30 hours of research a term for 1 credit, 60 hours of research a term for 2 credits and 90 hours of research a term for 3 credits. Students cannot be paid for that time; however, if a student is paid for 4 hours a week, and would like to earn 1 credit of research, they may work an additional 3 (unpaid) hours a week for research credit. Students and their mentoring professors should discuss the number of credits and agree on them together.
At the end of the term, the student receiving the MB 401 or BHS 401 research credit are required to present their work at the microbiology department colloquium. In general, the presentation should be about 10 minutes in length and include
- a short description of the project
- methods employed
- results obtained, and
- conclusions reached
Creating and giving a research presentation develops professional skills and is a great way to show potential employers or graduate/professional programs your oral communication skills.