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, and some faculty will 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. 

RISE replaces our long-running Senior Thesis (from 1962-2011), retaining the best elements - such as student-centered research projects and direct interactions with faculty and their lab members - while expanding the program to allow a broader range of experiences. Additionally 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. We anticipate that students will be able to publish their findings in manuscripts from the labs, provided that the data are of high quality.

To Register

New registration policy (effective February 2014)

  • 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 starts generalized, and then is tailored for each student. 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 panels of faculty and students will be required in December and a poster presentation will be made in April as a part of the Biology Department Research Symposium.
  • Students can pre-register for BIOL-341.  This will be placed in a "needs approval" category until it is confirmed by the Biology faculty member.  BIOL-342 is consider continuing. 
  • Students may also add BIOL-341 during the Add/Drop period using the standard Add/Drop form.