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Finding a faculty mentor for directed research

The first and most important step in the process of completing the biology research requirement will be to establish a working relationship with an on- or off-campus faculty mentor who holds a Ph.D. in a related field.

You must have completed a consent form with your faculty mentor before you will be allowed to register for BI 470 your first term. This must be turned in to the BI 470 instructor THE DAY BEFORE REGISTRATION FOR THE TERM IN WHICH YOU WISH TO TAKE BI 470. The earlier that you establish your research connection, the better your overall experience will be, and the more research options you will have.

When you are selecting your faculty mentor, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

  • You will be working on the project for two terms, so be sure that you are truly interested in the research interests of your faculty mentor, and if possible, choose a project that could be related to your future career.
  • All BSC biology majors will be looking for faculty mentors, and the faculty mentor you hoped to work with may not be able to accept any more research students, so contact your first choice early and have a back-up.
  • Even if you contact your first choice early, securing a research position in the lab of your choice may be competitive.
  • Do not be afraid to branch out and utilize off-campus faculty mentors (if you meet the requirements ) if your areas of interest lie outside of the specialties of the on-campus biology faculty.
  • Scan through the senior conference abstracts from previous years to get some ideas about on- and off-campus research projects.

Off-campus faculty mentoring

You may work with an off-campus faculty mentor from UAB or another appropriate institution or organization. You may seek out your own off-campus faculty mentor, but if you do not already have a working relationship with someone from another institution, you should consult a BSC biologist to help you establish appropriate contacts.

In order to conduct research with an off campus mentor, you must have:

  • at least a 3.0 GPA in your science courses taken at BSC
  • consent from the biology faculty to pursue research outside BSC

Some examples of programs that may have faculty members who are interested in conducting research with you include (but are not limited to):

  • UAB Department of Biology
  • UAB Department of Microbiology
  • UAB Department of Neurobiology
  • UAB Department of Genetics
  • UAB Department of Cell Biology
  • Montevallo University Department of Biology