HEB Undergraduate Research

EXSC-490 Directed Research

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may register for EXSC-490x. However, 490x requires the support of a faculty sponsor and approval by the Department of Human and Evolutionary Chair.

If students sign up for 4 units of EXSC-490x, they are expected to spend a minimum of 12-16 hours per week in the lab (i.e. 3-4 hours of lab work per credit hour). Some students prefer to pursue their project by signing up for 2 credit hours of 490 in two consecutive semesters (i.e., to work 8-10 hours/week for two semesters). Please be aware that directed research is usually a 1-2 year commitment by both the student and faculty member.

Selection of a faculty sponsor is an important aspect of the research experience. The selection of a sponsor is a student-initiated process and should involve becoming familiar with several faculty members’ research interests. The process should begin with a web search and/or by reading published papers. Most faculty will accept undergraduates in their laboratories if they have space and funding, and if they are impressed by a student's interest and preparation. Once familiar with rules and regulations for 490 projects, a student should make a list of the faculty members whose research they are interested and contact them to set up an appointment. Be aware that faculty members are very busy and students need to plan well in advance to meet with them, write a proposal with their guidance, and meet the deadline for submission.

Other Funded Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Funding for undergraduate research projects is available by applying to the following programs:

A. University of Southern California

B. Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, USC

C. Others

D. Summer Programs

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371