RISE: Research Intensive Senior Experience

The RISE program is designed to allow students to have an opportunity to delve deeply into a research project over the course of a year. Students will develop a research project in conjunction with a faculty member mentor and will work on it over the course of the senior year. Mentors can be a member of the Department of Biology, or they can be a faculty member from another department (such as faculty from the Medical Center) or from another institution (such as the NIH or Smithsonian) with a Biology faculty member as a co-mentor. Research projects can be performed in the laboratory, in the field, in the classroom, on computers, or in conjunction with an internship. 

Many RISE projects are continuations of tutorial research projects (BIOL-340, 3 cr, either fall or spring of junior year) and some faculty may require this. The credits for RISE will be 3-cr in both the fall and spring terms.  The course numbers for RISE are BIOL-341 in the fall and BIOL-342 in the spring. Note that all RISE Tutorial and RISE courses are by permission of instructor, so you must contact a faculty member in the Biology Department to determine s/he is willing to be your mentor.  

The expected student products have shifted from a written thesis to written manuscripts and posters, both of which are more commonly encountered in professional scientific settings. Here is an example of the formatting of the beginning of the written thesis.  We anticipate that students will be able to publish their findings, provided that the data are of high quality.

To Register
  • Preceding the semester that a student will be enrolled in BIOL-341, the student will reach out to a Biology faculty member (as well as an extenal mentor, if applicable) to obtain permission for registration.  The course description (found here: BIOL-341/342 course syllabus) will be used to set expectations for the student (and outside mentor).  Note that the syllabus is very general, and it must be tailored for your work by discussion with your mentor(s). This syllabus details the project plan, readings, meetings and papers.
  • Three credits will be awarded for RISE in each semester; the commitment should be about 12 hours per week. This syllabus is signed by the student and mentor(s).  An oral presentation to a panel of faculty and students will be required in at the end of Fall Semester and a poster presentation will be made at the end of Spring Semester as a part of the Biology Department Research Symposium.
  • Students can register for BIOL-341.  Note this will be placed in a “needs approval” category until it is confirmed by the Biology faculty member.  BIOL-342 is considered a  continuation of 341. 
  • Students may also add BIOL-341 during the Add/Drop period using the standard procedure.