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. Performing research directly engages students in their chosen field of study in a very meaningful and valuable way. Students are also given the opportunity to present their work, and at times, 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 year.  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 and grading information See below for enrollment
  • 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.
  • The student must first check with the department advisor 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.
  • The petition materials must be submitted to 1602B Mol Sci no later than the first day of instruction.
  • The departmental Curriculum Committee will review the petition. In addition to working on a topic that is relevant to the MIMG major, the Curriculum Committee also looks at the qualifications of the proposed mentor and will only approve the petition if the mentor has the experience and a record of independent research accomplishments deemed comparable to those of a typical MIMG professor.
  • If the faculty is approved, the student will proceed with filling out and submitting the 199 contract

MIMG 199

Directed Research in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics

PROOF OF SAFETY TRAINING REQUIRED – students will NOT be enrolled unless they complete the EH&S Laboratory Safety Fundamental Concepts course. Sign up the course on WorkSafe.  Proof of completion must be attached to the contract, every quarter.

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!

  • Be an MIMG major (non majors see below)
  • At least Junior standing
  • 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
  • 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).



4 units, letter graded.  It’s not possible to receive more or less units per quarter.

Your faculty mentor, not the MIMG department.



  • 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 requires a contract, obtained from www.my.ucla.edu, under “Contract Courses”.
  • After filling out the contract (see below) obtain your mentor’s signature.


  • Submit the PDF contract to the department by emailing it to undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu before Noon on Friday of Week 2 in the quarter you plan to enroll in. If you do not submit by this deadline, enrollment is not guaranteed. Most contracts are processed by 5:00 pm on Friday of Week 2. Please refrain from contacting the department to inquire about your enrollment status before this time. If, however, you do not see the MIMG 199 in your class schedule by Wednesday of Week 3, please reach out to Dr. Fonseca at undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu. Be sure to include your UID in your email. If you need to be enrolled sooner due to Financial Aid requirements, inform Dr. Fonseca by marking your message as urgent.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

The 199 Report

A report must be written for every quarter a student is enrolled in MIMG 199.

  • Five to ten pages, double spaced, plus any figures and tables.
  • Must have the following sections:
    Title page, Abstract, Intro, Methods, Results, Discussion, References
  • Before submitting the report to the department, the Faculty Mentor must sign the Faculty Acknowledgement Form. Dr. Fonseca will share the Faculty Acknowledgement Form and Submission Guidelines with all students enrolled in MIMG 199s via undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu by the end of Week 8.

You must submit the report to the department by 5pm on the Friday of Finals Week. NOTE: Dr. Fonseca will email the submission guidelines to all students enrolled in MIMG 199s by the end of the 8th week. She will include instructions on how to submit your report. Make sure your faculty mentor has reviewed the report before you submit it. Along with your report, you must submit a Faculty Acknowledgement Form signed by your faculty mentor. If you do not receive the submission guidelines and the Faculty Acknowledgement Form by the end of the 8th week, please contact Dr. Fonseca at undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu.

Yes!  Even if your mentor doesn’t require that you write a report, the department does.



  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional Information 

  • Students majoring in another Life Science department can petition for enrollment in MIMG 199.  For more information, email undergrad@microbio.ucla.edu.
  • 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 Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies, April Pyle.
  • 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 for the MIMG major.