Undergraduate Research in Microbiology
Undergraduate research opportunities are available within the Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics (MIMG) Major. Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to engage in the laboratory research experience as early as their schedules permit. For students contemplating professional or graduate school, research is, in most cases, necessary. Additionally, it has been observed that students who do research tend to better comprehend the material covered in their didactic courses. Performing research directly engages students in their chosen field of study and exposes them to the research milieu. Research offers students opportunities to become exposed to the life of a scientific researcher by being able to design and carry out experiments, by interacting with others in the lab, and by attending lab meetings and journal clubs. Students are also given the opportunity to present their work, and oftentimes, have their work published in a scientific journal.
The majority of our faculty accept undergraduate researchers in their labs. However, many faculty members require that students fulfill certain course requirements before the student is approved to do research. Because of this, most students don’t begin doing research until their sophomore or junior years. Check with faculty directly to find out about course requirements.
What’s the difference between SRP and 199?
|SRP (MIMG 99)||MIMG 199|
|Learning of protocol/small project||More in-depth, independent project|
|1 or 2 units||4 units|
|P/NP grading only||Letter grading only|
|Approx. 6-10 hrs/wk in lab||Approx. 12-16 hrs/wk in lab|
|No report required||Report required for every quarter|
|Go to Undergrad Research Office (2121 Life Sci) for enrollment||See below for enrollment|
Find a faculty sponsor:
- Review MIMG faculty research topics
- Determine who is doing research that looks most interesting to you.
- Contact the faculty members via e mail. Use the UCLA directory to find their contact info.
- In your e mail, include a resume and brief cover letter.
- If the faculty member does not respond to you in about a week, you can send a message to follow-up. If (s)he still does not respond, do not continue to pursue the matter.
- If the faculty member is interested, you will most likely be asked to interview.
- Before the interview, it's best to look up the faculty member's recent publications, found in the Faculty Research section of the MIMG website (as above).
- The faculty member will discuss with you whether you should do 99 or 199 (most require students who are just beginning research to do at least one quarter of 99).
- The faculty member will discuss the project with you, that is, you do not have to already have a project in mind.
How do I enroll?
- For SRP: For SRP, sign up through the Undergraduate Research Center, 2121 Life Science Building. Also see www.ugresearchsci.ucla.edu/srpintro.htm.
- For 199: SEE 199 POLICIES BELOW!
Directed Research in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
Please read carefully. All of the following policies and requirements supersede those on the 199 contract itself. That means: if you read something here, but see conflicting information on the contract and aren't sure which is correct go by what the following policies say!
REQUIREMENTS for MIMG 199
The student must:
- be an MIMG major (non majors see below)
- have a GPA of at least 2.5 in the pre-major and major classes. NO EXCEPTIONS
- have proof of completion of the Lab Safety Fundamental Concepts course
How many quarters are required for MIMG 199?
- 199 is a one-quarter commitment.
- If the student wishes to continue the research after one quarter of 199, (s)he can repeat 199 (up to 32 total units of 199).
UNITS and GRADING
How many units do I get?
- 4 units, letter graded. It's not possible to receive more or less units per quarter.
Who grades me?
- Your faculty mentor, not the MIMG department.
How does my mentor determine my grade?
- This varies and should be discussed with the mentor before the student begins research.
- The student and mentor should decide upon a schedule that works for both of them BEFORE the quarter begins so that there is no confusion as to when the student should be in lab.
ENROLLMENT and THE CONTRACT
How do I enroll?
- Enrollment requires a contract, obtained from www.my.ucla.edu, under "Contract Courses".
- After filling out the contract (see below), print it and obtain your mentor's signature.
- YOU DO NOT NEED THE SIGNATURE OF THE DEPARTMENTAL CHAIR, EVER!
- Submit the contract to the department (1602B Mol Sci) by 3:00 PM on Friday of the second week of classes. Most contracts are processed (enrolled) late in the day on the Friday of second week. Do not contact Bridget to ask why you are not enrolled unless it is AFTER Friday of second week. If you need to be enrolled sooner for Financial Aid, let Bridget know when you submit the contract.
- You must have enough units on your study list available to add the 199. If adding the 199 will cause you to exceed 19 units, obtain permission from the College to exceed 19 units BEFORE you submit the contract. Failure to do so may result in a late add fee.
- You must attach to the contract proof of completion of the Lab Safety Fundamental Concepts course (https://worksafe.ucla.edu/UCLA/Programs/Standard/Control/elmLearner.wml).
Do I have to submit a contract every quarter?
- YES. If you do not submit a contract, you will not be enrolled. There is no "automatic enrollment".
- Once you've taken the safety class you do not need to take it again, but you must attach proof of competition to every contract you submit.
What goes on the contract?
- All 199 contracts must include a thoughtful and well-described proposal for research, to be approved by the department.
- Your mentor will help you with the proposal.
- All contracts also require a commitment to produce tangible evidence of the research in the form of a written report (see below).
- Your mentor must sign the contract, the Department Chair DOES NOT.
But there's a place on the contract for the Departmental Chair to sign!
The Chair never ever, like, ever needs to sign the contact. The 199 contract is a standard contract used all across campus. The MIMG department is not able to remove the line that asks for the Chair's signature. If we could, we would.
A report must be written for every quarter a student is enrolled in 199.
What is the format of the report?
- Five to ten pages, double spaced, plus any figures and tables.
- Must have the following sections:
Title page, Abstract, Intro, Methods, Results, Discussion, References
- The mentor must sign the report before it is submitted to the department (see below).
When is the report due?
- The report, signed by the mentor, must be submitted to the department (1602B Mol Sci) by Friday of Finals week.
Do I have to submit a report every quarter?
- YES!! Even if your mentor doesn't require that you write a report, the department does.
What if I don't have enough data/progress for a complete report?
- For the first quarter of 199, you are NOT expected to have enough data for a complete report.
- Think of the paper as a rough draft or work-in-progress.
- Write as much as you can, given what you have at that point.
Does my mentor grade my report?
- Some mentors use the paper as part of their basis for grading the student, some do not.
- This should be discussed with the mentor before the student begins research.
- Even though the department does not grade you, a report must still be submitted, as agreed to on the 199 contract.
Can I work with a faculty member who is not in the department of MIMG?
- Possibly. The student must first check with Bridget Wells to see if the faculty in question has already been approved for MIMG 199.
- If the faculty has NOT already been approved, the student must petition by submitting the following:
- A letter from the student explaining why (s)he want to do 199 with the mentor (previous experience with the mentor is an example).
- A one-page proposal for the project that the student will be researching.
- Students majoring in another Life Science department can petition for enrollment in MIMG 199. For more information, go to 1602B Mol Sci.
- Students are NOT allowed in enroll in 199 in the same research lab in which they are working for pay. Exceptions to this rule require prior approval by the Faculty Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Steve Smale.
- Any Incomplete (I) for a 199 must be resolved during the following quarter (Fall in the case of Spring), or it will lapse to an F. Continued enrollment in 199 will not be permitted until the Incomplete is resolved.
- 199 courses from other departments do not count for credit on the MIMG major.
YOU DO NOT NEED THE SIGNATURE OF THE DEPARTMENTAL CHAIR ON THE 199 CONTRACT, EVER!