College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

BSCI 348R - Research in Microbiology

BSCI 348R is a course where a student is offered the opportunity to perform research under the supervision of a Ph.D. microbiologist who is external to the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, usually in a laboratory at one of the government agencies, industrial corporations, or hospitals in the greater Washington, DC - Baltimore, MD area.

The purpose of this course is to provide an additional learning experience by means of a structured project and by expanding the student's exposure to a particular area of Microbiology. By working off-campus the student has the opportunity to function in a different setting, gain additional (or new) experiences with a variety of instruments, listen to other viewpoints, and generally establish a certain degree of confidence in knowing that she/he can function in such a non-college setting.

Thus far, students have worked on numerous projects, both applied and basic, ranging from agricultural to medical in nature. A few of the participating organizations have been the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as other departments on the College Park campus which have ongoing research in some facet of Microbiology.

BSCI 348R is sponsored by the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics. Each semester a faculty member will serve as the Instructor for the course. However, this course will not be a traditional lecture variety. In BSCI 348R, the student will meet with the Instructor during pre-registration, or prior to the Add/Drop date of the semester in which the course is taken. This initial meeting is required to receive permission to take the course. The student will then work with the course Instructor to find an off-campus mentor for the BSCI 348R research experience. The student will meet with the off campus mentor, devise a project, and then return to the course instructor for project approval. A written proposal describing the research is due at this meeting. After project approval, the student will perform research in the lab of the off -campus mentor. At the end of the semester, a ten page paper, or a poster, will be due to the course Instructor. Based upon this final project, and comments from the off-campus mentor, the Instructor will decide the course grade.

Qualifying Students

The student is usually a Biological Sciences Major with a Specialization in Microbiology and has had at least two Microbiology courses. It is recommended that the student have junior or senior status but under some circumstances this course will be open to sophomores and freshmen.

The number of credits for the course will be decided by the student and the course Instructor and will reflect the students' time commitment to the project. The requirement is: three hours/credit/week during Fall and Spring semesters, and ten hours/credit/week in the summer semester. The time must be constructively spent in the supervised assignment. Students may count a maximum of 3 credits of BSCI 348R toward the Upper Level program of the Microbiology Specialization Area. In all other circumstances the credits will serve as elective credit.

Responsibilities of Off-Campus Mentor

The mentor is asked to provide the opportunity for making this a meaningful learning experience for the student. At the same time, it is our hope that the student will make a reasonable contribution to the mentor's laboratory's objectives. There should be some assuredness that the required time is dedicated to the project. Frequently, students become acutely involved in their projects. At the completion of the project the mentor is requested to evaluate the students' performance. The mentor may also comment on the students final report. Certainly the mentor's involvement in the report writing is welcomed but not required.

Responsibilities of Course Instructor

The faculty member serving as Course Instructor will vary each semester. See the Schedule of Classes.

The Course Instructor is responsible for giving permission to enroll in BSCI 348R, meeting with students to help find a mentor, and giving approval of the mentor and the project outline. Also the Course Instructor will speak with the off-campus mentor to ensure that there is a reasonable commitment from the mentor to providing an academic experience for the student. Lastly, the Course Instructor will set a due date for the final project, evaluate that project, speak to mentor for his /her comments on the student, and submit a course grade.

Responsibilities of Student

The student is responsible for meeting with the Course Instructor to receive approval to enroll in BSCI 348R, suggesting an Off-Campus Mentor or work with Course Instructor to choose a mentor, meeting with the Mentor prior to the second week of classes and preparing a project outline. Further, the student must submit the Project Outline and Mentor Information Sheet to Course Instructor, work for the agreed upon hours in the Mentor laboratory for the course of the semester, and complete the final paper or project which is submitted to the Course Instructor by the agreed upon due date set by the Course Instructor.

Mentor Information sheet.