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Undergraduate Essay

*Registration forms and proposals are due one week before start of classes.

Undergraduate Essay
APBI 498.jpg
APBI 498
Instructor: Contact Dan Naidu
for more information.
Office: McML 125
Office Hours: Contact your supervisor
to determine
Class Schedule: Contact your supervisor
to determine
Important Course Pages
*Registration Form
*Project Examples

Typically APBI 498 does not require in-person activities. This is in line with the LFS restart plan. For more information and to review essay opportunities, please contact the APBI Program Coordinator well in advance (

Course Description

The Undergraduate Essay provides a means for individual students to undertake a customized literature review that will help to develop and strengthen research skills and to accommodate special research interests that cannot be met through other APBI courses. The Undergraduate Essay differs from a directed study or a thesis in that there are no field activities or lab work included in the essay. However, the student may involve an external collaborator to explore a research topic of interest. In this case, the collaborator may provide additional resources and expert input.

Credits: Three (3) credits of APBI 498, which are generally undertaken within a single semester. However, it is possible to complete the essay over two semesters

Time commitment: Approximately 40 hours of work per credit (eg. a 3-credit essay would require 120 hours, approximately 9 hours per week if completed in one term).


  • Work completed in an Undergraduate Essay must be unique and cannot overlap with a Practicum (i.e. APBI 496, LFS 496), Directed Studies (i.e. APBI 497) or Undergraduate Thesis (i.e. APBI 499)
  • If the project to be conducted is associated with a summer or part-time, paid or volunteer position held by the student, care must be taken to ensure that any hours of work on the essay are over and above those required by the related position. The supervisor must be satisfied that this requirement has been met

Application Process

  1. Review the course syllabus
  2. Think of an area of research that interests you and brainstorm research questions
  3. Find a faculty member that matches your research interests and discuss your research interests with them
  4. Develop a project proposal summary* (~1 page) in conjunction with your supervisor
  5. Complete and submit a signed registration form to Dan Naidu, adhering to the university’s deadlines
  6. The APBI Program Coordinator (Dan Naidu) will complete the registration in conjunction with LFS Student Services

*Details in the Registration section of the syllabus

Please consult the Applied Biology Program Coordinator, Dan Naidu (Room 191 MacMillan; currently working remotely) with any questions well in advance of registration deadlines.

Course Format

There is no set meeting time for this course. Instead, the work plan is arranged and agreed to by the student and the supervising faculty member. This plan must be set out in writing with a copy to the student, faculty member, external collaborator (if relevant) and APBI undergraduate program advisor. The work plan will consist of a defined research question and associated literature review.

A learning schedule and a regular schedule of consultations should be pre-arranged between the supervisor and the student to monitor progress. Target deadlines, established within two weeks of the start of the course, should be set for the completion of various phases of the project to ensure timely completion. Meeting times should form a regular entry on the timetables of both the student and the supervisor.

The final essay will be read, marked and commented upon by the academic supervisor. The supervisor will select a second reader for the essay, for comments before assigning a final mark.


  • Oral presentation of the final essay is not required. For more details on essay length, format, learning assessments and marking schemes, see the syllabus
  • Marking of the final report must include one other faculty member other than the academic supervisor

Is APBI 498 the Right Course for Me?

This course may be right for you if:

  • You are highly self motivated
  • There is an area of research you are interested in that has not been highlighted in your other courses
  • You would like to learn more about running your own research project
  • You have taken APBI 398 - Research Methods (recommended, not required)

Non-LFS and non-APBI students are eligible to enrol in this course. However, they should contact an academic advisor in their home faculty to understand how this course may be applied to their degree prior to registering.

Read about past student projects and experiences in this course.