Getting Registered

The first step is to identify a faculty member who will serve as your advisor. The departmental Undergraduate Studies Office cannot assign you to a lab nor make specific recommendations, however we do provide information and suggestions for finding a mentor.  How you will enroll in the Independent Study depends solely on the Departmental affiliations of your Faculty Research Mentor. The Biology Department requires students, wherever possible, to enroll for Independent Study directly with their Research Mentor through the Mentor's Department.

You may:

Register for Independent Study with a Biology Department Faculty Member

  1. Obtain a Permission Number to Register through DukeHub. You must request a permission number directly from your research supervisor. Remember that you must register for the specific section number of BIOLOGY 293 (for first semester of a project) or 493 (for subsequent terms in the same lab) listed in DukeHub for your supervisor. Registration through DukeHub can be done any time until the end of Drop/Add.
  2. For a Writing Intensive Independent Study, fill out the Request for Writing Code for Research Independent Study Course form, available through the Trinity Requirements. Discuss the specific writing expectations with your research supervisor. The form, signed by the student and the research supervisor, must be signed off by the DUS and submitted to Trinity College before the end of drop/add. More info on Writing Intensive Independent Study.

Register for Independent Study with a Faculty Member in Pratt or another Trinity Department

  1. Obtain a permission number from the Department of your Research Supervisor (BME, EvAnth, Psychology, Environ, EOS, Neuroscience, etc), and enroll for an Independent Study in that Department.  Because Independent Study policies and procedures vary by Department, you will need to visit the appropriate Department's website or speak with the appropriate contact to determine their registration procedures. Registration through DukeHub can be done any time until the end of Drop/Add.
  2. Some Independent Study projects registered through Engineering and Trinity College Departments other than Biology are appropriate for use towards the Biology major, while others are not, so the DUS Office reviews those projects on a case by case basis to determine whether the project is sufficiently biological. Email a project description and a request to use your Independent Study as an elective towards Biology major requirements to our Associate DUS, Dr. Eric Spana.  If the Independent Study is approved for use towards the Biology major, your Independent Study will be arranged to serve as an elective for the Biology major on your advisement report in DukeHub.

Register for Independent Study with a Duke Faculty Member in the Medical Center

If your research supervisor is not listed in DukeHub for BIOLOGY 293 or 493, you have two options. Both options require completion of an online Independent Study Form.  It can take anywhere from several days to a week to complete the processes below. As such, students are strongly recommended to initiate the process no later than a full week prior to drop/add to allow sufficient time to receive a permission number and enroll before the deadline.

Research supervisor has a faculty appointment in one of these Depts: Cell Bio, Biochem, Immunology, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology (MGM), Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology Research Supervisor is only faculty in the Department of Medicine/Clinical Department
  • You do not need to have a faculty sponsor in the Department of Biology in addition to the Medical Center research supervisor.
  • Registration for independent study in the Medical Center departments below are pre-approved for the major and may be considered equivalent to BIO 293 with respect to the requirements of the major.
  • Independent study in these departments may also be considered to the equivalent of BIOLOGY 493 (capstone course) if there are two or more registrations with the same mentor, as documented via the Independent Study form.
  • You will register for Biology 293/493 using a Biology Department Faculty Sponsor.
  • The current Biology Faculty sponsor for all students needing one is Dr. Eric Spana.
  1. Submit the online Independent Study Form by the end of drop/add; the form includes the name and contact information of the research supervisor and a brief description of the project. A copy will be sent to the research supervisor, asking for him/her to respond with approval of the project.
  2. Request a permission number directly from your research supervisor or someone within your supervisor's Department, as one will not be sent automatically; the Biology Department does not have access to the permission numbers for Indepdent Study outside of Biology. The Medical Center Department may require their own paperwork, a copy of the Independent Study with faculty outside of Biology, and/or emailed authorization from your research supervisor before providing the permission number. See information in the box below for further information on receiving a permission numbers from Departments in the Medical Center.
  1. Submit the online Independent Study Form, which includes the name and contact information of the research supervisor and a brief description of the project. A copy will be sent to the research supervisor, asking for him/her to respond with approval of the project. Then, the approval and project information will be sent to the Biology Faculty Sponsor, Dr. Spana, for review.
  2. Dr. Spana will review the form, and if approved, will provide a permission number for registration and a schedule for meetings, reports and grade recommendations during the semester.  If there are issues or concerns with the project, Dr. Spana will offer suggestions for revision of the proposal and/or reframing of the project. Note that the sponsor will be available for help with any problems in the conduct of the course, but the research mentor is responsible for scientific supervision of the project. Your biology sponsor will report your grade at the end of the semester, based on his assessment of your work and a recommendation from the research supervisor.
  1. Register for Independent Study on DukeHub under your research supervisor directly through the appropriate Medical Center Department.
  • Biochemistry: Permission numbers are obtained directly from the research supervisor, but Amy Norfleet, (919-681-8770, e-mail: anorfleet@biochem.duke.edu) can assist with obtaining a permission number if your mentor is not able to provide one. Register for course BIOCHEM 393/593.
  • Cell Biology: See the Cell Bio website for their procedures for enrolling in undergraduate independent study. Dr. Sharyn Endow is a primary point of contact for independent study in Cell Biology. Register for course CELLBIO 493.
  • Immunology: Permission numbers are given out directly by your faculty sponsor. If you have trouble obtaining one, contact Jennifer Goins for assistance at immunologydept@mc.duke.edu. Register for course IMMUNOL 493/494.
  • Molecular Genetics and Microbiology: Permission numbers should be given out by the faculty member, but can be given by Kim Kobes (kimberly.kobes@duke.edu) if the faculty member isn't able to provide one. Register for course MGM 293/593.
  • Neurobiology:  Permission numbers should come from your research supervisor if possible, or from Carla Sturdivant (carla.sturdivant@duke.edu). Register for course NEUROBIO 393.
  • Pathology: Permission numbers for registration can be obtained from Dr. Soman N. Abraham (919-684-3630 or abrah006@mc.duke.edu). Register for course PATHOL 293.
  • Pharmacology: If you cannot obtain a permission number from your faculty sponsor, contact Dr. Schwartz-Bloom http://www.dibs.duke.edu/research/profiles/131-rochelle-schwartz-bloom. Register for course(s) PHARM 393 / 394 / 493 / 494 / 495
  1. Register for BIOLOGY 293 or 493 as appropriate once the permission number is received.
  1. For a Writing Intensive Independent Study, fill out the Request for Writing Code for Research Independent Study Course form, available on T-Reqs. Confirm that your research supervisor will take responsibility for the supervision of the writing component, and discuss the specific writing expectations with him/her. The form, signed by the student, research supervisor, and faculty sponsor must be signed off by the DUS of the Department where the student is registering and submitted to Trinity College before the end of drop/add. More info on Writing Intensive Independent Study. Note that you may not add a W to an Independent Study more than once.
  1. For a Writing Intensive Independent Study, fill out the Request for Writing Code for Research Independent Study Course form, available on T-Reqs. Confirm that your research supervisor will take responsibility for the supervision of the writing component, and discuss the specific writing expectations with him/her. The form, signed by the student, research supervisor, and faculty sponsor must be signed off by the Biology Department DUS and submitted to Trinity College before the end of drop/add. More info on Writing Intensive Independent Study. Note that you may not add a W to an Independent Study more than once.