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Biology Internship Programs

Introduction

Independent Study Agreement
For courses:  BIOL 298, 491/691, 492/692, 496, 497, 792

Many students conduct internships during the summer or throughout the academic year and would like to receive academic credit though the University of Nevada, Reno Biology Program.

If you are a university student that is planning to conduct an on-campus internship or off-campus internship and wish to obtain academic credit, directions for receiving credit are given below. You also should talk to your supervisor for special instructions for completing an internship in his/her laboratory.

If you are conducting an internship with a Nevada faculty member who is in a different department or an off-campus internship, special arrangements must be made through the Biology Internship coordinator, Dr. Josh Stevenson, jstevenson@unr.edu.  If you or your internship supervisor has any questions, please contact the Biology Office at (775) 784-6188 to receive more information.  

Type of internship Credits available:

BIOL 298

Independent Study (freshmen and sophomores only!) Description: This internship is designed for students who have not yet taken BIOL 192 (General Biology lab) or equivalent. This internship assumes that most of the intern's duties will be closely supervised and may be very repetitive in nature. Requirements:

The intern will be required to turn in a midterm and final evaluation and a mini report at the end of the semester (more info below). Credits: Biol 298 can be taken for 1-3 credits per semester for a total of 8 credits.

BIOL 491

Independent Study (sophomores, juniors, seniors) Pre-requisite: Biology 192 or equivalent. Description: This internship option assumes that the student will be working under the close supervision of a faculty member, technician, graduate student or post-doc.

The intern is usually working on another person's project. Requirements: The intern will turn in a midterm and final evaluation each semester, as well as a final "half" scientific paper the first semester (see below for more info). Interns retaking the course can turn in a full scientific paper at the end of the second semester.

Midterm and final evaluations forms need to be filled out by the supervisor and turned in each semester. Credits: BIOL 491 can be taken for 1-3 credits per semester for a total of 8 credits.

BIOL 492

Research (juniors, seniors) Pre-requisite: Biology 192 or equivalent. Description: This internship option is for interns who are either working on original research and have their own project OR are given a large amount of autonomy while working on someone else's project. Requirements:

The intern will be required to turn in a midterm and final evaluation each semester. A "half" scientific paper is required the first semester. If the student chooses to remain on the project a second semester, a full scientific paper can be completed at the end of the second semester (see below for more information). Credits: BIOL 492: 1-3 credits per semester for one semester.

BIOL 496-497

Senior Thesis (seniors only) Pre-requisite: Acceptance into the Biology "Degree with Distinction" Program. Students are encouraged to apply for the program at the end of their sophomore year. Contact the Biology Dept. at (775) 784-6188 for more information.

Academic credit for unpaid internships:

  • One credit = 45 hours of unpaid work. (average of 3 hours a week over a fifteen week semester).
  • Two credits = 90 hours of unpaid work (average of 6 hours a week over a fifteen week semester).
  • Three credits = 135 hours of unpaid work (average of 9 hours a week over a fifteen week semester).

Additional comments: 135 hours is the MINIMUM number of hours required to receive three credits. Do not be surprised if you have to work more than the required hours (within reason) to accomplish your goals. Typically, a written and/or oral presentation will be part of the goals of the internship.

Academic credit for paid internships:

The number of credits to be received are not directly related to the number of hours worked if the student is paid for the hours worked. The number of credits will be determined in discussion with your advisor or the Internship Coordinator and will be based partly on time committed, beyond the paid time, to the preparation of a written report on the internship. The format and length of the written report will be correlated with the number of academic credits to be received.

The instructions for receiving credit will depend on the TYPE and LOCATION of the internship. You should discuss your plans for an internship with your academic advisor in advance to determine if your internship will qualify for academic credit.

The three options are:

  • Conducting an internship for Biology Credits (BIOL 298, 491, etc...) within the Biology Department
  • Conducting an internship for Biology credits on campus, but outside of the Biology Department.
  • Conducting a Biology internship off campus.

Options 1: Conducting a Biology internship within the Biology Department

  • Step 1. Print Out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Print out the independent study agreement request form provided by this link or pick one up a form at the Biology office (FA 147). The independent study request forms need to be turned into the Biology office before the beginning of the semester if possible.
  • Step 2. Fill out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Signature of your Biology internship supervisor is required on the form.

Have your supervisor sit down with you to explain what your goals will be for the semester. He/she should help you fill out this form and should sign the form.

The Agreement should briefly describe the project and clearly state the number of hours you will be devoting to the project per week (on average) or per semester. The Agreement should describe any required evaluations, writing assignments, presentations, reports, etc. and deadline dates for these assignments. See "Recommended Evaluations and Written Assignments" below. The independent study agreement request form should clearly state the course number and how many credits you will receive (see Tables 1 and 2, above).

Forms can be turned in to the Biology office (room FA 147); the office staff person will give you the call number needed to sign up for the credits. Use this call number to sign up for the appropriate course and number of credits on MyNEVADA. Biology students completing an internship during the summer may have to wait until the fall semester to obtain credit. Talk to the Biology Department about this issue if you are a graduating senior.

Option 2: Conducting a Biology internship on campus, but in a laboratory outside of the Biology Department.

  • Step 1. Print Out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Print out the independent study agreement request form provided by this link or pick one up a form at the Biology office (FA 147). The independent study request forms need to be turned into the Biology office before the beginning of the semester if possible.
  • Step 2. Fill out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Signature of both your internship supervisor and the Biology Internship Coordinator is required on the form.

Meet with your advisor or the Biology Internship Coordinator to discuss the requirements for Biology internship credits and what type of projects and writing assignments will be acceptable for academic credit. Then, have your supervisor sit down with you to explain what your goals will be for the semester. He/she should help you fill out this form and should sign the form.

The Agreement should briefly describe the project and clearly state the number of hours you will be devoting to the project per week (on average) or per semester. The Agreement should describe any required evaluations, writing assignments, presentations, reports, etc. and deadline dates for these assignments. See "Recommended Evaluations and Written Assignments" below. The independent study agreement request form should clearly state the course number and how many credits you will receive (see Tables 1 and 2, above).

Then take the Independent Study Agreement to the Biology Internship Coordinator for review and signature.

Forms can be turned in to the Biology office (room FA 147); the office staff person will give you the call number needed to sign up for the credits. Use this call number to sign up for the appropriate course and number of credits on MyNEVADA. Biology students completing an internship during the summer may have to wait until the fall semester to obtain credit. Talk to the Biology Department about this issue if you are a graduating senior.

Options 3: Conducting a Biology internship off-campus

  • Step 1. Print Out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Print out the independent study agreement request form provided by this link or pick one up a form at the Biology office (FA 147). The independent study request forms need to be turned into the Biology office before the beginning of the semester if possible.
  • Step 2. Fill out an Independent Study Agreement Request Form. Signature of both your internship supervisor and the Biology Internship Coordinator is required on the form.

Meet with your advisor or the Biology Internship Coordinator to discuss the requirements for Biology internship credits and what type of projects and writing assignments will be acceptable for academic credit.

If you are going to be paid for your internship, you can receive academic credit for additional work involved in writing a report or preparing a presentation about your internship project.

Then, have your supervisor sit down with you to explain what your goals will be for the semester. He/she should help you fill out this form and should sign the form.

The Agreement should briefly describe the project and clearly state the number of hours you will be devoting to the project per week (on average) or per semester. The Agreement should describe any required evaluations, writing assignments, presentations, reports, etc. and deadline dates for these assignments. See "Recommended Evaluations and Written Assignments" below. The independent study agreement request form should clearly state the course number and how many credits you will receive (see Tables 1 and 2, above).

Then take the Independent Study Agreement to the Biology Internship Coordinator for review and signature.

Forms can be turned in to the Biology office (room FA 147); the office staff person will give you the call number needed to sign up for the credits. Use this call number to sign up for the appropriate course and number of credits on MyNEVADA. Biology students completing an internship during the summer may have to wait until the fall semester to obtain credit. Talk to the Biology Department about this issue if you are a graduating senior.

Recommended Evaluations and Written Assignments for Internships

Midterm Evaluation. A midterm evaluation is not graded. This is a chance for the student intern to meet with his/her supervisor in order to get feedback on strengths, weaknesses and where improvements can be made. Print out the midterm evaluation form and turn it in to the supervisor 1-3 days before a one-on-one meeting. The meeting should include a discussion of progress and a realistic evaluation of the intern's goals for the remaining portion of the semester. The midterm evaluation form should be turned into the Biology Internship Coordinator before the MIDTERM semester drop date.

Final Evaluation. The final evaluation form is designed to be filled out by the supervisor after a one-on-one meeting at the end of the semester. The supervisor is responsible for submitting the final evaluation to the Biology Internship Coordinator. If the intern turns in the final evaluation, it should be delivered in a sealed envelope with the supervisor's signature across the seal.

  1. The final evaluation can affect an intern's grade. A student receiving a 2 or 1 on any portion of the evaluation can have their final grade lowered by half or one grade point, respectively.
  2. Any student not completing the total number of hours will either be given an incomplete, a lower grade, or an "F" in the course. This will be determined by the supervisor and the Biology advisor or Internship Coordinator.

Paper:
BIOL 298 Interns
Interns could be expected to complete a mini paper that consists of (1) a description of the internship and the intern's accomplishments, and (2) a commentary on how this internship affected the intern's decisions about future career choices. The paper would be at least 2 pages long and is graded by the supervisor and by the Biology Internship Coordinator, for internships outside of the Biology Department.

BIOL 491 and 492 Interns
Interns could be expected to complete a scientific paper (see below) would be at least 7 pages long. (Alternatively, a student preparing for a senior thesis project could prepare a detailed proposal of the planned thesis research project.) The paper would be graded by the supervisor and by the Biology Internship Coordinator, for internships outside of the Biology Department.

BIOL 491 and 492 interns completing their first semester could be expected to turn in a "half" scientific paper. This paper would typically consist of the following:

  1. Introduction- The introduction is a way of demonstrating your knowledge of the project and explaining why you conducted this research. It is recommended that the introduction follow the same format used in Biology 192. We call this format "the upside-down pyramid" where the writer discusses the topic from general to specific by first provides background information on the topic and then eventually leading her reader into a short introduction of the intern's project. The final paragraph should include a short description of why you are conducting this research and can include a statement about the hypothesis.
  2. Methods- This section lets the interns demonstrate knowledge of what they are doing. It should include a detailed description of the protocols the interns are conducting in their own words. Many Cell and Molecular Biologists will reference general protocols instead of giving a detailed description of the procedures. We suggest that the intern include a complete description of the protocols so they can demonstrate a working knowledge of the procedures and can describe them using proper scientific vocabulary.
  3. Results and Discussion- These two sections should be combined in the half scientific paper format and should include initial data (raw or summarized) and a preliminary interpretation of that data. Length of this section may vary depending on the intern's progress.
  4. Literature Cited- At least 5 outside references should be cited within the paper and included in this section.

491 and 492 interns completing their second semester could be expected to submit a "full" scientific paper. This paper would typically consists of the following:

  1. Abstract- This is the first section of a scientific paper and it acts as a summary of the work. All abstracts should be short (250 words or less) and stand on their own so the reader can quickly obtain an overview of the work without reading the paper. Key elements of an abstract include a few sentences that concisely state what you did, why you did it (the importance of your research), how you did it (very briefly with few details), your results, and your conclusions. This means that your abstract will have pieces from your Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. It is best to write the abstract after you have completed all other sections of the paper.
  2. Introduction -(see description above). Existing introduction from the previous paper may need to be updated.
  3. Methods- (see description above). Existing methods from the previous paper may need to be updated.
  4. Results- Should include a summary of the data but no conclusions should be drawn in this section.
  5. Discussion- This is the section where the intern interprets and discusses his/her results. The last part of this section should address the original question stated in the introduction and some conclusions should be drawn from this work. An expansion on the discussion section can include an interpretation of how this work has contributed to the overall knowledge in this scientific area.
  6. Literature Cited- At least 8 outside references should be cited within the paper and included in this section.

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