Main content start

Optional Research

Many Coterminal Master's students choose to engage in a substantially independent research project. Although the independent project may be suggested by the PI/sponsor and developed with their guidance, the student is expected to be involved in the planning and execution of experiments, analysis and interpretation of data, presentation of results and evaluation of the research. Up to 18 units of research can count toward the program, and the information below will help determine how to enroll for appropriate credit.

Research in a Biology or Hopkins Lab

In-Department Research (BIO 300, BIOHOPK 300H)

Biology Coterm students doing research in Biology Department labs should enroll in their faculty member's section of BIO 300 (if on the main campus) or BIOHOPK 300H (if at Hopkins Marine Station). No petition is required to enroll in BIO 300 or BIOHOPK 300H.

Research in a Non-Biology Lab

Out-of-Department Research (BIO 300X)

Many students find research opportunities in labs outside the Biology Department. Coterm students doing research with a non-Biology Department faculty member must submit an out of department research petition for BIO 300X in order to count the units toward their program. One petition is valid for the duration of the time students remain in the same lab; switching labs is allowed but requires submission of a new petition.

A note about out of department research sponsorsSponsors should be Academic Council members (assistant, associate, or full professors) whenever possible. If you are not sure if your research sponsor is an Academic Council member, search on StanfordWho in the "Search in Stanford view." If your sponsor is not an Academic Council member you will need to find a faculty member in the Department of Biology to serve as a co-sponsor of your research. This can be your faculty advisor, if appropriate.

BIO 300X Petition Deadlines

Autumn 2021: September 23, 2021, 3:00pm
Winter 2022: January 20, 2022, 3:00pm
Spring 2022: April 7, 2022, 3:00pm 

Petition Procedure

1. Submit petition and sponsorship forms
2. Project Description

This should be submitted to both your research sponsor and faculty advisor, along with the above petition form well ahead of the deadline allow for enough time for them to review your proposal and give you feedback for revisions! The proposal should be at least 2-3 pages in length (double spaced, not including references and figures) and should be organized as described below using the following headings. Also please include your Sponsor's name and department at the top.

3. Title of Research Project
4. Objective of Research

Briefly and clearly state the question that your research is designed to address. Explain the specific aims of the research.

5. Background and Significance

Using appropriate background information which is appropriately referenced, indicate the significance of your research.

6. Experimental Design

Describe the project design you will use to carry out your research including methods and materials. Indicate how these techniques will allow you to address your research question.

Note the following:

  1. Research involving vertebrate animals requires that your sponsor have an approved Animal Use Protocol on file with the University Panel on Laboratory Animal Care
  2. Work with radioactive substances requires certification in the University’s radiation safety course
  3. Work with pathogenic organisms requires special training and precautions
  4. Work with human material requires that you complete the Human Subjects Training.

If any of these apply, describe them in your proposal. 

7. Possible Results

Describe the expected outcome of your research, indicating how the data collected will be used to draw conclusions regarding the research question. Throughout your proposal, be specific about your own work: do not simply state the goals of the lab in which you are working. Stress the biological concepts you are using and your understanding of the methodology. The proposal should clearly show some level of independence in your research, the feasibility of the project, and an understanding of the basic biology involved. If this is your first Quarter of Bio 300X and you do not yet have your own project, but are helping someone else in the lab on their project while learning concepts and methods, then describe the project that you are working on instead.

8. References
9. Sponsor handout

Provide your PI with a copy of the Sponsor Info Sheet.