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Undergraduate Thesis

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

Undergraduate Thesis in Applied Biology
Kathryn - student profile.jpg
APBI 499
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

Course Description

This course provides a means for individual third (3rd) and fourth (4th) year students to undertake customized projects, strengthen their research skills and to accommodate special research interests that cannot be met through other APBI courses. The course is based on experiential learning. You will work together with your supervisor to develop your research question and proposal, review the literature, and conduct original research. Advanced planning is required and opportunities for conducting projects are limited.

Credits: Six (6) credits of APBI 499, which are generally undertaken within two semesters

APBI 499 is a required course for students in the Honours program.  For APBI students not in the Honours program, APBI 499 counts as a restricted elective towards their degree requirements.  Opportunities for conducting projects are limited and admission to this course is not guaranteed for those outside the Honours program.

Time commitment: Approximately 40 hours of work per credit. The expectation is that the work involved will meet or surpass 240 credit hours of study, approximately 8 hours per week if completed in two terms.


  • Work completed in an Undergraduate Thesis must be unique and cannot overlap with a Practicum (i.e. APBI 496, LFS 496), Directed Studies (i.e. APBI 497) or Undergraduate Essay (i.e. APBI 498)
  • 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
  • A minimum of 50% of the work required for the course must be conducted during the session in which the student is enrolled in the course

Application Process

  1. Read the 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* (~500 words) in conjunction with your supervisor containing:
    • Thesis goals
    • Learning objectives
    • Work involved and proposed work location
    • Timeline for completion
    • Assessment criteria
  5. Complete and submit a signed registration form to, adhering to the university’s deadlines.
  6. The APBI Program Coordinator, Dan Naidu will facilitate APBI Director signature and complete the registration.

*Your supervisor will require a more in depth thesis proposal and literature review once you are registered in the course.

Please consult the Applied Biology Program Coordinator, Dan Naidu ( 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 the thesis proposal and submitted to the faculty member, external collaborator (if relevant) and APBI undergraduate program advisor within the first two weeks of the term.

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 following deadlines are suggested:

Milestones Suggested Timelines for Sept-Apr
Submission of project title and name of supervisor to undergraduate advisor Sept 15
Thesis proposal to supervisor Oct 1
Literature search/ Experimental Plan Draft Oct 31
Literature search/ Experimental Plan Final Nov 15
Thesis progress report to supervisor Jan 15
Experimental/research work completed Feb 15
Submission of thesis draft to supervisor Mar 15
Submission of final thesis copy to supervisor Apr 7
Oral presentation of thesis work Apr 10


  • All elements will be evaluated by the academic supervisor and a secondary marker
  • For more details on evaluation and suggested marking schemes, see the syllabus

Is APBI 499 the Right Course for Me?

This course may be right for you if:

  • You are in the Honours program* (not a pre-requisite for this course)
  • 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 are curious about Graduate Studies
  • You would like to learn more about running your own research project
  • You have taken APBI 398 - Research Methods (recommended, not required)

*APBI 499 is a required course for students in the Honours program.  For APBI students not in the Honours program, APBI 499 counts as a restricted elective towards their degree requirements.  Opportunities for conducting projects are limited and admission to this course is not guaranteed for those outside the Honours program.

Read about past students' experiences in their undergraduate thesis.

Further Opportunities

Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference

Although not required, students are encouraged to look into the Annual UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC).  MURC is a conference for UBC undergraduate students to showcase their research in front of their fellow UBC students, family, and friends. Researchers may choose one of two formats to showcase their research: presentation or poster.

Any UBC undergraduate student who is participating in, or has completed, their own Faculty-supervised research project can apply to present at MURC. All Faculties and Schools are welcome. For more information, please visit the Present at MURC page.

Please note that participating in MURC requires the permission of your supervisor.

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