7.18 Topics in Experimental Biology

7.18 Topics in Experimental Biology

7.18 is a required seminar for all students in Course 7 that supplements work done in the laboratory. Students meet regularly with a faculty instructor to gain expertise in both oral and written communication. Most students complete this requirement in their junior or senior year.

Course prerequisites

Permission to register for 7.18 is determined by the faculty instructor and has the following prerequisites:

*Students may also enroll in a biology-related UROP in another department to fulfill this requirement.


The written assignments for 7.18 will include a 5-page literature review as well as a 15-page research report. The research report must be completed by the last day of class in the semester you are enrolled. If you plan to work in a lab for several semesters before writing a paper you should enroll in 7.URG or 7.UR instead.

While enrolled in 7.18, you should plan to spend 16-20 hours per week in lab in order to make sufficient progress on your project.


To register for 7.18 you must secure a faculty research mentor. The research mentor must be a member of the MIT faculty and the research must be conducted on the MIT campus. The research 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.

Registration for 7.18 will require a letter from the proposed faculty mentor. The letter should be sent to the Undergraduate Committee, c/o Janice Chang, Educational Administrator, by the first day of classes in the semester. 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 include:

  • The mentor’s willingness to sponsor the student for Project Lab credit.
  • The mentor’s expectation that the student will complete 30 units of course/laboratory work for 7.18 that semester.
  • A summary of the student’s prior experience working in the mentor’s laboratory.
  • The mentor’s expectation that the student complete a 15-page research report by the last day of class, and that the mentor is willing to grade and comment on the paper.

Important notes on grading

While you are enrolled in 7.18 you cannot simultaneously receive credit for 7.URG or 7.UR or enroll in a UROP for pay.

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.