The Research Scholars Program is designed for students in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences who want to engage in serious undergraduate research for a year or more.
The program provides students substantial hands-on experience designing and executing their own personal high-quality research projects under the guidance of their selected faculty mentor. Students also gain invaluable communication skills specific to their field of study.
The vision of the program is to create an active community where students are encouraged to learn to think and talk science. In addition to providing invaluable experience designing, performing and presenting research, other program benefits and activities include:
- Imagine RIT exhibition
- Social activities
- Outreach activities
- Journal club
- Online community
- Elective credits
- Practice writing scientific proposals and progress reports
- Presentation of research at conferences
- Publication of student research in peer-reviewed journals
- Special graduation ceremony
- Certificate and medallion
Continued progress in the program requires that students maintain a 3.0 GPA, make progress on their research project, meet presentation objectives, and honor the agreed time-commitment to their research project.
How the program works...
Each quarter that students are active in the program, they must enroll in one of the Research Scholars courses. Students may not pre-register for these courses, though. Registration for these courses will be completed by departmental administrators after approval from the Research Scholars Committee and Department Head. Each quarter the student must specify how many credits they would like to take with a justification in their plan for the quarter. Each credit is assumed to represent approximately 3-4 hours of work on the project per week (check with your mentor).
Research Scholars I (1001-570)
This class should be taken the first quarter in the program. Prerequisite: successful application to RSP. Grade is based on quantity and quality of work accomplished, laboratory notebook or other documentation, participation/understanding, and any other requirements that the mentor wishes to add.
Research Scholars II (1001-571)
This class should be taken the second quarter in the program. Prerequisite: grade of B or better in 1001-570 and approved Progress Report. Students are required to give an oral presentation during this quarter.* Grade is based on quantity and quality of work accomplished, laboratory notebook or other documentation, participation/understanding, oral presentation and any other requirements that the mentor wishes to add.
Research Scholars III (1001-572)
This class should be taken the third and all subsequent quarters in the program. Prerequisite: grade of B or better and approved Progress Report for the previous quarter. Grade is based on quantity and quality of work accomplished, laboratory notebook or other documentation, participation/understanding, and any other requirements that the mentor wishes to add. Note that this course may be repeated without replacing the original grade, so students are encouraged to continue enrolling in RSPIII beyond the third quarter if they have not yet graduated.
Graduation as a Research Scholar
The student is not considered a Research Scholar until all requirements have been met. Approximately 6 weeks before Commencement, students and mentors will be required to fill out an application for graduation as a Research Scholar.
The final requirement beyond GPA and successful completion of all RSP courses is to write a final paper in the form of a journal article. The targeted journal should be determined by the mentor, and the student should write their paper in accordance with the published format guidelines for that journal (look for “Instructions to Authors” on the journal’s website). Students are expected to work closely with their mentors on this manuscript. Please note that the process of writing and editing this paper usually takes an entire quarter. This is NOT the purpose of RSPIII credits—writing the paper is an extra activity, so budget your time wisely.
The paper must be submitted to the Research Scholars Committee by the end of Week 10 of the spring quarter. Note that the student may or may not be enrolled in RSPIII that quarter. If the student is graduating in a quarter other than the spring, he/she should submit the paper prior to the Commencement ceremony in which they plan to participate.
The final papers are approved and rated by the Research Scholars Committee, and the author of the best manuscript is given the honor of “Distinguished Research Scholar” at the graduation ceremony.