Human Biology Undergraduate Research

BISC-490 Directed Research

Juniors and seniors may register for BISC-490 Directed Research. However, 490 requires the support of a USC faculty sponsor and the student must submit an application through the Department of Biological Sciences. Students applying for BISC-490 must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (science and cumulative).

If students sign up for 4 units of BISC-490, 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 credits of 490 in two consecutive semesters (i.e., eight to 10 hours per week of lab work for two semesters). Students who pursue this option are expected to work on the same project with the same sponsor both semesters.

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. You can find HEB faculty information here. 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.

BISC research applications must be submitted to Linda Bazilian in AHF 107 F, by the end of the first week of classes in the semester in which you wish to enroll. Please make arrangements to meet with your sponsor well in advance, and allow two weeks for a decision from the department chair. For more information see the frequently asked questions.


HEB Faculty Research 

Research opportunities are available in our department for unit credit, as well as volunteer options. Drs. Casey DonovanJill McNitt-GrayLorraine TurcotteScott KanoskiStephanie Bogart, and Craig Stanford offer research opportunities in their funded laboratories. If you are interested in research for unit credit or a volunteer experience, please contact them directly.


Other 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