Bio 200/500 is for Biological Research ONLY. Clinical Research will not be approved and is suitable for Bio 265. Click on the categories below for everything you need to know about registration for Bio 200/500 Independent Research.



200/500 Course Info

Bio 200 (Freshman 0-29 units/Sophomore 30-59 units)

Bio 500 (Junior 60-89 units/Senior 90+ units)

Summer Research available by enrolling in Bio 500S or Bio 200S.  Units for these courses will post to a student’s fall schedule and count towards the 21.0 total units available.

Students conducting Independent Research in Neuroscience may enroll in Bio 500N/U.  For more information on these courses, please visit the Bio 500N/U information page.  Students registering for Bio 500N/U should follow the registration instructions outlined HERE.

Independent Research

Course Master: Professor Anthony Smith, Ph.D.

You MUST complete an application for each semester you plan to do research.
You will not be enrolled for continuing research unless you complete an application by the deadlines below.


Fall/Spring Registration Deadline:  First Friday of the Semester
Summer Registration Deadline: June 1
Your application and research description must be received by this date to be considered for enrollment.
NEW: ALL Bio 200/500 Students are required to have HIPAA training. What is HIPAA? If you have not completed HIPAA training please contact Erin Gerrity ( and request the HIPAA online training link.

Purpose of Coursework for Students

To provide opportunities for students to gain experience in using the scientific method to resolve problems of scientific importance. This includes acquiring technical skills, reading and evaluating articles in the scientific literature, gaining experience in design and conduct of experiments, learning to evaluate experimental data in relation to existing knowledge, and in expanding skills at communicating results of research both orally and in writing. Students who spend several semesters and one or more summers in the same laboratory often accomplish enough to be co-author of a paper in a scientific journal.

Rules and Guidelines
  • Pass/Fail Only. Course may not be taken for a letter grade. Maximum 3 units per semester.
  • Students average 9-10 hours a week (Fall and Spring) at the bench for 3 units of credit, pass/fail grade option only. Preparation for lab, data reduction and reading requires additional time. Field-based research requires a comparable expenditure of time.
  • If a student wants to receive credit, for fewer hours per week in lab (e.g., 6-8 hrs/wk for 2 units), this will require special permission from the mentor to verify that it will still be a useful research experience.
  • Some mentors offer monetary payment for the same independent work that earns credit for Bio 200/500. Any financial compensation for research is at the discretion of the faculty mentor, and must be arranged by the mentor or laboratory manager. The Department of Biology does not arrange financial compensation for undergraduate research.
  • The mentor should assign a grade of Incomplete (I) if the time commitment agreed upon has not been met. This “I” can be changed to “Pass” by work the student completes after the semester is over. Please consult Anthony Smith at the earliest time any problem is perceived.
  • BIO 200/500 is a demanding experience. It should not be treated as an add-on to a full schedule. If total course load is above 16 units, consult your advisor about dropping a course or BIO 200/500. Lab work typically requires two or more big blocks of time (e.g., 4-5 hours) in lab per week, so your schedule will need to be able to accommodate this.
  • Students should begin their independent research projects at the start of the semester, which will be prior to their official registration in Bio 200/500 because of the time required to review applications.
  • Summer Research is available by enrolling in Bio 500S or Bio 200S. Credits are received in the fall semester following the summer research.   Since the summer is ~10 weeks students are expected to work 14 hrs/week for 3.0 units of credit or audit work.
  • To receive academic credit for summer research funded by a BioSURF or other fellowship, a separate application must be submitted by June 1. Summer research is credited using course numbers Bio 200S, Bio 200U, Bio 500S, and Bio 500U as appropriate. See the course descriptions in the Biology Handbook for majors.
  • Credit cannot be given in the Spring semester for Fall semester research.
  • ALL students that have direct contact with patients or human research subjects, are required to submit the following: A Current TB shot and a current flu season shot.

Note: Bio 200 offers research experiences to students who have completed less than 60 units of credit at the time of enrollment, whereas Bio 500 provides research experiences in a similar format to students who have completed at least 60 units of credit at the time of enrollment

  • Fill out the Pre-application. IMPORTANT: You must have a mentor and short description of your project or lab duties to complete the pre-application.  The pre-application is designed for students who are beginning their first semester of research for credit, or, if a student is beginning research in a new lab.  We use the pre-application to make sure your research is biological, and that your mentor is an approved Bio 200/500 mentor. Continuing students may use the pre-application to request a link to the full application.

Pre-application link

When your pre-application is approved, you will receive an email containing a link and password to the full application.  Completion of the full application is required for enrollment.

Full Registration Instructions HERE

Summer Research

Important: Bio 200S/500S/500 U units post to fall schedules and count towards the 21.0 total units per semester allowed by the College of Arts & Sciences (each unit > 21.0 will cost the student additional tuition). Registration Deadline is June 1.

Biol 500S/500 U Summer Independent Research (Fall)

Summer research under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and permission of sponsor and the department. Credit/No Credit or Audit grade options; credit to be determined in each case, usually 3 units/summer; may be repeated for credit in different summers.  Because this course has a large number of sections, some sections are listed and enrolled as Bio 500T. Credits are received in the fall semester following the summer research. If work is to be submitted for Latin honors, see p. 3, Latin Honors Through a Biology Major Program. Arrangements for registration should be completed no later than the end of Summer Session I.  Visit the Bio 200/500 course information page or Bio 500N/U course information page (for Neuroscience Research) for details and registration instructions. 

Biol 200S Summer Introduction to Research (Fall)

Summer research under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Prerequisites: first-year or sophomore standing and permission of sponsor and the department. Credit to be determined in each case, usually 3 units/summer; may be repeated for credit in different summers. Credits are received in the fall semester following the summer research. The application deadline and registration information can be found on the Bio 200/500 course website.
Credit/No Credit. Course may not be taken for a letter grade.

Other Summer Research Opportunities

The Washington University Office of Undergraduate Research also offers funding and programs for students interested in undertaking research projects over the summer.  The programs are not for credit.  For more information please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research Funding & Programs page here: