Undergraduate Research Credit Policies

Thesis and Off-campus Research Credit Policies


1. The College policy is that thesis research be done while in residence (at Bates); we interpret this to include an off-campus field research location of a Bates faculty member.

2. Permission to extend an off-campus research experience into a one- or two-semester thesis may be granted if:

  • Arrangements are made in advance of the summer experience including arrangements of who will be the on-campus adviser; a written proposal is expected;
  • The student has significant input into the design of the project done off- campus and demonstrates independence in carrying out the work (with a letter to both effects from the off-campus adviser);
  • Review occurs in the Fall as to how/if the work should continue as a thesis. This review may include a group of Biology faculty or just a single faculty member;
  • Further work will be done at Bates in which the student has significant intellectual input and independent effort, AND
  • Any financial remuneration during the summer is in the form of a research stipend, but not an hourly wage or salary;
  • The off-campus adviser is willing to continue to support the project financially if needed.

3. Further work on campus may be in the form of laboratory, field, analytical, or library work.


Students receiving credit for research must present their research to the Department during the academic year, usually at Mount David Student Research Symposium in March. Research may be presented as a poster or a talk.

An additional poster presentation opportunity for summer research is afforded by the Parent’s Weekend Student Research Poster Session.

Oral presentations are accompanied by visual aids (overheads, slides, or blackboard). The research question, methods and results (or preliminary results in the case of a two semester thesis project) should be presented. Usually each talk is 15-20 minutes with 5 minutes for questions. The presenter is expected to attend the entire session of presentations.

Poster presentations also include the research question, methods and results presented as a glossy, large format poster 36 x 48 inches (landscape orientation) in size, prepared using MS Powerpoint or ADOBE InDesign software. Faculty mentors will give you advice on how to make the most effective presentations.

See the Mount David website for links to poster and talk preparation guidelines and advice.


The Department strongly encourages majors to take advantage of off-campus research opportunities. Such research need not be followed by any research at Bates, nor does it necessarily lead to academic credit. However, if a student wishes to receive credit for work begun as off-campus research, it may be possible (e.g. Biology 360 or 457). The student must apply to the Department IN ADVANCE OF THE EXPERIENCE, and should consult with a Biology faculty member. The Department will consider the degree of student participation in the planning and design of the research, the intensity of the research experience, and the degree of extension of the work to a substantial on-campus project under the guidance of Biology faculty. Pre-approval and Faculty sponsorship is required in any case; and completion of the off-campus portion of the work does not guarantee that the effort can be extended for credit.

  1. Before doing the work, the student consults with a Biology Department faculty member for approval.
  2. The student submits a substantial research paper to the Biology Department advisor for evaluation at the end of the Fall semester.3. Any financial remuneration during the summer is in the form of a research stipend, but not an hourly wage or salary.

Additional Guidelines for Receiving Independent Study Credit