Capstone Option 3: C&S BIO 195 & M187 is designed for students completing research outside of UCLA or a substantial computational biology project via a corporate internship.

About Capstone Option 3

Required Courses: C&S BIO 195 (4 Units) AND C&S BIO M187 (4 Units)

In Option 3, students will engage in an internship supervised by a UCLA faculty member (in addition to their on-site supervisor) while taking 4 units of C&S BIO 195, an individual studies internship course. Students must complete a minimum of 80 hours of work, though many will complete more. Students will be expected to coordinate with their on-site supervisor to ensure that the internship is suitable for use towards the Capstone project (see expectations below). In order to enroll in C&S BIO 195, students must provide proof of internship offer, on-site supervisor contact sheet, a description of the work to be completed, and the number of hours to be worked. At the completion of C&S BIO 195, the on-site supervisor will be asked to provide feedback on the student’s performance and confirm the work completed. Students will also submit a 2-3 page write up of the work completed. The supervising faculty will assign a Pass/No Pass grade based on the on-site supervisor’s evaluation and the student’s write up, as outlined in the 195 contract.

Students will then complete C&S BIO M187, a research communications class that teaches students to communicate project results, both orally and in writing, through in-class presentations and completion of the senior thesis/project report. In this class, students will complete the three deliverables for the Capstone project (paper, presentation, poster). The final grade for M187 will be assigned by the professor of the class, based on the deliverables completed.

Planning for Capstone Option 3 Courses

For Option 1, C&S BIO M187 is typically offered in Spring quarter (subject to change). Most students will take this course in Spring of their 4th year. Prior to taking C&S BIO M187, students must take at least one quarter of C&S BIO 195 (195 will be added as a pre-requisite to M187). C&S BIO 195 can also be taken during Summer Sessions. While students are not required to take a second C&S BIO 195 course while enrolled in M187, students may find it easier to complete their thesis if they are still working on their project while they take M187.

Students must enroll in their 195 contract course in the term in which they will be completing their internship. As such, students who complete an internship over the summer should enroll in a 195 contract course over the summer. Students will pay regular summer fees on a per-unit basis. Students who will be completing their internship experience during Fall, Winter, or Spring quarters should plan to take C&S BIO 195 during that term, when standard tuition fees apply.

The CaSB Faculty Advisory Board recognizes that paying tuition fees to pursue an internship over the summer may be a burden to students. As such, if students will be completing their internship over the summer and not continuing it into the academic year, they can petition to take another concentration elective during the school year instead of a 195 course. Students could then take the additional elective during the academic year instead of paying per unit for a 195 course over the summer. In order to qualify for such an exception, students must still provide documentation of their internship experience (on-site supervisor contact sheet and evaluation form, offer letter, etc.) to the CaSB Undergraduate Office to verify that the internship experience will be sufficient to fulfill Capstone expectations. Students will then be permitted to take an additional concentration elective in place of enrolling in a 195 course, and the CaSB Counselor will make the substitution on your Degree Audit Report. Students who are interested in this option should consult with the CaSB Departmental Counselor for detailed instructions.

Internship/Project Expectations for Capstone Option 3

Students are expected to find their own internship project prior to starting the Capstone courses.

Students must coordinate with their on-site internship supervisor to confirm the details of the project. Students will be required to communicate the results of their project orally and in writing as part of the C&S BIO 195 and M187 courses. Different organizations have different data privacy regulations. Students must ensure that their internship site and on-site supervisor will allow them to communicate the results of their work in a course setting. Students will also need to find a ladder faculty member who is willing to serve as the instructor of record for their 195 course.

Not all internships may be suitable for use towards the Capstone. In order to use an internship towards completion of your Capstone requirements, you should be completing a substantive computational biology project (remember that it should be similar to doing at least two quarters worth of research). Your project should involve some aspect of math modeling, computational simulation, data analysis, or other quantitative work so that there is a quantitative/mathematical/computational piece. Your project should also be connected to a biological question. While the project does not necessarily have to contribute to scholarly research, there should be some communicable results of
the project. In the end, students should look for a project for which they can explain and justify a goal, and then communicate what they did to achieve said goal. For the Capstone requirements, the project needs to be enough for a coherent story: a 10-minute presentation, a poster, and an approximately 10 pages or longer paper.

To earn credit of C&S BIO 195, students must complete no less than 80 hours of work at their internship site and submit all required documentation.

Enrolling in the Capstone Option 3 Courses

C&S BIO 195 is a contract course. All contract courses must have an instructor of record. As such, you will want to find a ladder faculty member (rank of assistant professor, associate professor, professor—not an adjunct or lecturer) who will agree to supervise your 195 course. You can check faculty member titles via the UCLA Directory. If you have questions about whether the faculty member you want to work with is a ladder faculty member, please reach out to the CaSB Departmental Counselor. Students will be expected to reach out to faculty directly, and are encouraged to use the CaSB Affiliated Faculty List to identify possible faculty members. Ideally, the faculty member should have experience in or knowledge of the field in which you will be pursuing your internship (for example, if you will be completing a genomics project for your internship, you may want to look for faculty who do genomics-related research). Students are encouraged to send the “Expectations for Faculty Supervising Internship Capstone Projects” document when contacting faculty. If students are unable to identify a faculty member who is willing to supervise their 195 course, please reach out to the CaSB Departmental Counselor, who will help connect you with a faculty member on the CaSB Advisory Committee, though this person may not have as much experience in your project area.

To enroll in C&S BIO 195, students must generate a contract via MyUCLA (go to the “Academics” tab and then “Contract Courses”). The contract outlines the project that you will be working on and describes what tangible evidence you will provide at the end of the quarter as evidence of work completed. For C&S BIO 195, this should be a 2-3 page project write-up. You must fill out the contract and obtain your professor’s signature. You will also work with your on-site internship supervisor to fill out an On-site Supervisor Contact Sheet and have them sign it. You will then send your offer letter, On-site Supervisor Contact Sheet, and 195 Contract via Message Center no later than Wednesday of Week 1 of the quarter**. The CaSB Departmental Counselor will obtain the second required signature on the 195 contract from the department chair.

C&S BIO M187 enrollment will be via MyUCLA during regular enrollment passes. Please note that the pre-requisites for this course should be updated in the coming months to include C&S BIO 195 as a pre-req.

**International students who are applying for CPT should submit their contracts ideally by Week 8 of the proceeding term to allow time for CPT processing prior to internship start.

Sample Syllabi and Resources

C&S BIO 195 Syllabus Expectations for Faculty Supervising 195 Courses On-Site Supervisor Contact Form On-Site Supervisor Evaluation Form