7.18 - Topics in Experimental Biology

The following information is important for Biology majors who intend to carry out a UROP for project lab credit by taking course 7.18 Topics in Experimental Biology.

7.18 has a seminar component to supplement work in the laboratory. The students in 7.18 meet regularly (4 hr/week) as a group with a faculty instructor to provide training in both oral and written communication. Permission to register for 7.18 and responsibility for the final grade will be determined by the faculty instructor (not by faculty mentors) and a significant portion of the grade will depend on attendance and participation of the seminar part of the class. The seminar class will begin meeting on the first week of classes.

The prerequisites for 7.18 are 7.02J, 7.06 (it is necessary to have completed 7.03 and 7.05), and an approved research experience. The written assignments for 7.18 will include a 5-page literature review as well as a 15-page research report.

Students should only enroll in 7.18 if they plan to complete a paper on their research by the last day of class in the semester they are enrolled. A student who is planning to work in a lab for several semesters before writing a paper should plan to enroll in 7.URG or 7.UR. A minimum of a one semester enrollment in 7.URG or 7.UR (or full time work over the summer) in the proposed laboratory is required before a student is eligible to enroll in 7.18. Students may also enroll in a biology-related UROP in another department to fulfill the requirement for taking 7.18. The course instructor should be contacted to confirm the appropriate UROP choice for 7.18. While enrolled in 7.18, students should plan that the number of hours they are working in the lab are sufficient for progress of their project to completion. It is recommended that students are in lab 16-20 hours a week. Students enrolled in 7.18 receive credit for their research work through 7.18 and cannot simultaneously receive credit for 7.URG or 7.UR or enroll in a UROP for pay.


How to register for 7.18:

Registration for 7.18 will be contingent on a letter from the proposed faculty mentor. The letter should be sent to the Undergraduate Committee, c/o Janice Chang (jdchang [at] mit.edu), Educational Administrator, by the first day of classes in the semester you plan to take 7.18. If an appropriate letter is not received by the first Friday after Registration Day your registration for 7.18 will be cancelled.

The letter must state:

  • The mentor’s willingness to sponsor the student for Project Lab credit. The research mentor must be a member of the MIT faculty and the research must be conducted on the MIT campus.
  • That the mentor expects that the student will complete 30 units of course/laboratory work for 7.18 that semester.
  • That the student already has some experience working in the mentor’s laboratory. This experience must be a 12-unit UROP project or full-time work over the summer. Lab work over IAP will NOT fulfill this requirement, because IAP is too short for the faculty member to reliably judge whether the project will be appropriate for 7.18 credit.
  • The mentor’s expectation that the student will turn in a 15-page research report by the last day of class, and that the mentor is willing to grade and comment on the paper.

Some additional points about 7.18:

  • If you receive an Incomplete, the "I" will continue to remain as part of the your record, along with the grade that is later submitted to complete the course. At the discretion of the faculty instructor (not your lab mentor), the grade for a late paper turned in after the semester deadline will be dropped by a letter grade. Note that a grade of "J" cannot be given for 7.18.