Independent Research with Upper-Level Writing Component (BIOL 395W Expectations)

Writing is an essential component of undergraduate education. Biological science tracks require students to take two courses with an upper-level writing component.

Those who chooses to add an upper-level writing emphasis to their independent research course must register the course with a "395W" course number in the BIOL 395/395W Registration Form.

Students must work with their instructors to produce a high-quality final report that is well written and effectively communicates the scientific justification and results of their research. The writing process involves communication between the student and mentor and extensive document revision. 

Upper-level writing reports must be at least six pages in length. Ideally, students would submit the paper to mentors at various stages of development for their suggestions for improvement so that students may fully benefit from the writing experience. Students should plan to submit a final draft to faculty at least three weeks before the semester ends so there is sufficient time for evaluation.

When experimentation does not yield enough data to write extensively about or runs out of time, the student or faculty may email the UG Bio Dept Office to request the removal of the writing component "W" by changing the course registration to "BIOL 395".

Although the Instructors for 395w courses will assign a final grade, the decision to permit the course to fulfill a writing requirement for the student's major is determined by the advisor of their intended or declared program of study.  

At the end of the semester, students must email a copy of their final reports to their intended or declared biology major so they may review them for application to the major. Please, note this is not an automatic process. 

Students taking two semesters of independent research with writing (BIOL 395w) should know that it is acceptable to reference the experimentation done in previous semesters but should include at least six new pages of content for the second semester. When requesting advisor approval, students must email a copy of the paper from the first and second semesters.

Additionally, the department requires students to upload a final draft of their final report to Blackboard by the last of finals at the end of the semester.

Students may not select the poster option if the course is taken for upper-level writing credit (BIOL 395W).