All of the CU-Boulder courses listed below provide undergraduates experience in research while earning academic credit.

An Introduction to CU STEM Research Methods

This course uses the innovative approach of integrating science concepts and methods through exposure to CU STEM research projects with the goal of increasing students interest in, familiarity with, and retention in STEM fields. Students will learn science concepts through a series of lectures, followed by experiential learning activities based on CU STEM research projects that use techniques similar to those used in actual research labs. Each unit will culminate with students hearing from and interacting with someone from the labs in which the research is being done.

CU Research-Based Laboratory Courses

(CUREs - Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences)

This course integrates molecular biology topics and basic laboratory techniques while allowing students the opportunity to participate in real scientific research: a bacteriophage genomics research project. Students study novel bacteriophage they isolate from the environment. Topics covered include phage biology, bacteria and phage culturing and amplification, DNA isolation, restriction digest analysis, agarose gel electrophoresis, and electron microscopy. This initiative offers students a unique opportunity to conduct scientific research that will directly contribute to phage biology and the genomics field. We expect students who have completed this innovative course to be better prepared and more motivated to work in a research lab. Notes: This 2 credit course is offered fall and spring semesters. Recommended corequisite courses of MCDB 1150, EBIO 1210, EBIO 1220, or MCDB 2150. 

Students will participate in a research project related to the research of Dr. Corrie Detweiler. The aim of the project is to identify novel antibiotics by screening in bacteria (Salmonella). Students will culture typhoid-causing Salmonella and screen compounds from a library of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs. Students will screen through approximately 1000 drugs over the course of the semester and will have the opportunity to validate findings and choose drugs to test based on known mechanisms of effect. The overriding goal of MCDB 1171 is for students to become familiar with a number of biology concepts and research techniques including approaches to screening for new therapeutics, statistical analyses, and presentation of data to a committee and in a research report. Unlike laboratory exercises that are designed to reinforce concepts that may accompany lecture topics, there is no certainty that any one particular project will succeed, which reflects the inherent risks of novel research. The goal-oriented nature of this research effort means that validation of findings will also be performed. Notes: This 2 credit course is offered fall semesters. Recommended corequisite courses of MCDB 1150 or EBIO 1210. 

Learn more about Discovery Labs

Provides laboratory experience working on a bacteriophage isolated during the previous semester. Topics include bioinformatics, genome annotation, open reading frame and RNA identification, BLAST analysis, phylogenetics and submission to a genomic database. Notes: This 2 credit course is offered spring semesters. Department consent is required. Requires prerequisite course of MCDB 1161.

Students will participate in a research project related to the research of Dr. Tin Tin Su. The aim of the project is to identify novel chemotherapeutics that produce additive or synergistic effects with radiation by screening in fruit flies (Drosophila). Based on prior experience, we expect students to screen through and analyze data from approximately 400 compounds total. The experiment, from embryo collection to data analysis, takes approximately three weeks (collect embryos on day 0, irradiate larvae on day 5, determine genotypes using fluorescence microscopy on day 15, and quantify survival on day 20). The overriding goal of MCDB 2171 is for students to become familiar with a number of biology concepts and techniques including model systems, genetics (inherent statistics, autosomal mutations, maternal effects, balancer chromosomes), approaches to screening for new cancer therapeutics, statistical analyses, and compound validation. Unlike laboratory exercises that are designed to reinforce concepts that may accompany lecture topics, there is no certainty that any one particular project will succeed, which mirrors the inherent risks of novel research. The goal-oriented nature of this research effort means that validation of findings will also need to be performed. Notes: This 2 credit course is offered spring semesters. Recommended corequisite courses of MCDB 2150 or EBIO 1220.

Learn more about Discovery Labs

A three credit discovery laboratory course to examine the role of genes (that students select) during early X. laevis development using CRISPR-Cas9. Students will use online databases to select a gene of interest (not previously studied in Xenopus), formulate hypotheses about the gene's function, design and build the reagents needed to generate and confirm the presence of mutations in that gene, and characterize the mutant phenotype in terms of gene expression and embryonic phenotype. Students will discuss with and present your findings to peers and the world through a short video presentation.

Learn more about MCDB 4100.

Studies how python hearts grow after they consume a meal. Understanding the molecular processes of growth and regression in the python heart could lead to development of therapeutics for heart disease. Students work in groups in the laboratory and generate novel data by using modern molecular biology and bioinformatic techniques to clone and sequence candidate molecules of the python genome. Notes: This 3 credit course is offered fall and spring semesters. May be repeated once. Recommended prerequisite courses of MCDB 3135 and MCDB 3145 (minimum grade C-). Department consent is required.

Learn more about The Python Project.

Independent Study & Honors

An independent study is a collaboration between a student and a faculty member on a special project that provides the student with a learning experience. An independent study may also fill an academic need of importance to the student that cannot be filled by the regular course offerings. Independent studies are opportunities for students to earn credit for learning outside the normal lecture and laboratory class structure. Please see individual departmental websites for guidelines and consent.

If you are interested in completing an honors thesis and graduating from CU Boulder with Latin honors (cum laudemagna cum laude, or summa cum laude), check out the Honors process. You'll need to start this process well before graduation (typically in your junior year) and work with your department to find out more