From UBC Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Undergraduate Thesis in Applied Animal Biology
APBI 499
Instructor: Chris McGill
Office: McML 191
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Overview

Design and execution of an experimental/analytical research project leading to the preparation of a thesis. The purpose of the thesis is to provide an opportunity during a student's graduating year to undertake independent study that includes original data collection, under the direction of a faculty member. A substantial effort is expected of the student. The quality of the work must be good, grammar and structure must be acceptable, and statements made substantiated by references or data where appropriate.

The undergraduate thesis is worth six (6) credits. The expectation is that the work involved will meet or surpass 240 credit hours of study. Students should anticipate devoting as much time per week to this course as two 3 credit upper level classroom-based courses.

Responsibilities and Expectations

Student Responsibilities and Expectations:

  • It is the student's responsibility to find an Academic Supervisor for the thesis. Students planning to undertake a thesis are advised to begin seeking an academic supervisor at least four months in advance of the anticipated thesis start date. The supervisor must be an LFS faculty member with a continuing appointment.
  • Students must provide their signed, completed Undergraduate Thesis Registration Form with signatures to the APBI Program Coordinator by the date indicated above.
  • Meet with their academic supervisor at least once a month.
  • By mid-point of the timeline, data collection should be completed.
  • If the thesis involves an off campus/remote location, with a local site supervisor, the site supervisor's signature must also be included on the registration form.
  • Final written report to be a minimum of 40 pages (if double spaced, single sided, 12 pt font).

Supervisor's Responsibilities:

  • If the thesis involves use of animal or human subjects, UBC ACC ethics approval is required.
  • The thesis will be marked by the supervisor and at least one other independent marker.
  • Meet with the student at least once per month.


The grading for APBI 499 will be based on the quality of the written thesis (80%), a scientific poster or slide presentation (10%) with an oral presentation (10%). The thesis should include, at a minimum, the following sections: literature review, hypothesis, materials and methods, results, discussion, conclusions, and bibliography. The scientific poster or powerpoint presentation will be judged on its effectiveness in conveying thesis findings in a meeting or class; e.g. Annual UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC),, to a lab group meeting, weekly/monthly program seminar, etc.

Written Thesis Grade Guidelines

80% of overall grade:

  • 90-100%: This grade is an indication of an outstanding piece of work. The thesis is extremely well written and organized. There is good evidence of creativity and critical analysis. The work is of such a level that it would warrant publication in a peer-reviewed journal following some necessary modifications to fit the journal's guidelines.
  • 80-90%: There exists a high level of quality throughout all aspects of the work. The thesis is well written, with only minimal typographical and editorial errors. The topic is well researched and presented. An excellent understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Very good critical thinking and/or analysis skills are evident.
  • 70-79%: There is generally good quality throughout the work. The thesis is reasonably well written, with only minimal typographical and minor editorial errors. The topic is adequately researched and presented. A good understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Some critical thinking and/or analysis skills are evident, but the thrust of the paper is primarily descriptive.
  • 60-69%: There are several problems of some significance with the work. The thesis likely demonstrates only marginally acceptable writing, with sufficient typographical and editorial errors to detract from the presentation. The organization of the thesis is acceptable, but concrete suggestions could be made for improvements. Only a moderate understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis is minimal.
  • 50-59%: There are a number of serious flaws with the work. The thesis/essay is poorly written, with sufficient typographical and editorial errors present to significantly detract from the presentation. There may be significant concerns about the organization of the thesis/essay. Only a marginal understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis is minimal.
  • Failure < 50%: A failing grade indicates an unacceptable thesis. The quality of writing is poor and there may be significant concerns about the organization of the thesis. A very poor understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. There is little or no evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis. Often, the student has ignored or totally failed to seek help/advice from his/her supervisor.

Thesis Format

Material in the thesis should be placed in the following order:

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract/Executive Summary followed by a short list of key words
  3. Table of Contents, Index of Tables and Index of Figures
  4. Main body of the thesis
  5. References

Style guidelines:

  • 12 point font
  • 2.54cm margins
  • Double-spaced, single-sided

Oral Presentation Grading

10% of overall grade. For clearly describing the project, explaining experimental technique, summarizing the results and conclusions, and (optional) mentioning how the findings are practically important. Speaking clearly, showing knowledge of the subject and ably answering questions.

Poster or Powerpoint Presentation Grading

10% of overall grade. Clarity of visual aids (logical, readable text, clear graphs and illustrations/photos), concise summary or conclusions.

Expectations for Undergraduate Thesis Completion/Grade Reporting

It is expected that APBI 499 Undergraduate Thesis courses will be completed within no more than two consecutive terms, unless otherwise agreed to at time of registration. If a grade has not been reported by the deadline, a "T" standing will be recorded. The "T" standing may be changed once the thesis Academic Supervisor submits a written record of the grade to the APBI Program Coordinator.

Contact: Applied Biology Program Coordinator,, 604-822-2794.

Thesis Submission to cIRcle

Undergraduate LFS students who want to make their completed undergraduate thesis openly available are encouraged to do so through cIRcle, the University of British Columbia's digital repository for research and teaching materials. cIRcle was created by the UBC community and its partners to allow open access to anyone on the web, and to properly preserve and archive materials for future generations.

Three elements must be completed to allow an undergrad thesis to be accessed via cIRcle.

  1. A faculty sponsor (normally the thesis academic supervisor) needs to complete the Undergraduate Approval Form. This indicates which student will be submitting content and that the faculty sponsor has deemed it suitable for open access archiving via cIRcle.
  2. The student will need to complete the cIRcle license. It’s best if they cc their faculty sponsor when they complete this form (there’s a field on the form for this).
  3. The faculty sponsor or student will need to submit a clean copy of the paper to cIRcle via email to