Undergraduate Studies

Teaching Mission Junior Independent Work

Independent Work

Beginning with the junior independent work, students will read extensively from the primary literature, the principal mode of scientific communication. A major goal of the fall semester will be to learn how to do critical analysis of the formal scientific literature. In the spring of the junior year, students will meet in individual tutorials with their faculty advisors. The goals of the spring semester are four-fold. First, students are asked to master the relevant background literature and context for their research project. Second, students will learn to formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test the hypotheses critically. Third, at the end of the spring semester, students will integrate the relevant background literature with their ideas for future research to generate a research plan in the form of a grant proposal. The writing of the grant proposal will give students direct experience in the formal communication of scientific hypotheses. Finally, the spring semester and succeeding summer are the times when all students begin the research for their Senior Theses.

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