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Directed Studies in Food, Nutrition and Health
FNH 497
Instructor: variable
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

This course provides a means for individual students to undertake customized projects designed to provide an opportunity for students to develop and strengthen their research skills and to accommodate special research interests that cannot be met through other FNH courses. In special cases, this course can be used to fulfil the Food Science or Nutrition specialization electives when approved by the appropriate undergraduate advisor. With prior approval, and in special circumstances only, credit for FNH 497 may be accepted in lieu of equivalent credit for FHN 425 in majors where this course is required. Admission to FNH 497 is arranged through the undergraduate program advisor for the relevant program major, and must be recommended by the faculty member who will be supervising the work that the student is to undertake. Students interested in FNH 497 should contact the undergraduate advisor for their major and the individual faculty member(s) with whom they are interested in conducting a project. Opportunities for conducting projects are limited.

The work plan is arranged and agreed to by the student and the faculty member and should be set out in writing with a copy to the student, the faculty member, and the undergraduate advisor. The work typically will consist of a definable project requiring literature and/or laboratory or field research and a written report. Target deadlines, established within two weeks of the project, should be set for the completion of various phases of the project to ensure timely completion. A brief progress report (1-2 pages) is expected from the student when approximately half of the experimental work has been completed.

Student Expectations

Students will be expected to spend approximately 40 hours of work per credit, so that a 3-credit directed studies course would require approximately 120 hours. A regular schedule of consultations should be pre-arranged between the supervisor and the student in order to monitor and discuss progress and time spent by the student on the project. The meeting time should form a regular entry on the timetables of both the student and the supervisor.

If the project is to be conducted totally, or in part, at a location other than UBC, the supervising faculty member will make appropriate arrangements for regular monitoring of progress and time. This might entail appointment of an onsite co-supervisor.

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 directed studies project are over and above those required of the related position. The supervisor must be satisfied that this requirement has been met. Normally, 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. Exception to this requirement may be requested in advance where its application would result in a course overload, unnecessary delay in time to graduation, or the imposition of extra fees.

Supervisor Expectations

The role of the supervisor in the written report should be restricted to:

  1. provide general recommendations regarding structure, development, and progression of ideas; and
  2. provide advice on the general format of the report, according to the guidelines, and the use of correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

The involvement of the supervisor should be limited to the first draft of the report.

For purposes of determining a grade for a directed studies course, evaluation will be conducted by the supervisor and at least one other faculty member selected from the program by the undergraduate advisor. Where feasible and necessary, a common standing review committee will be struck. Evaluation will be based on the written report and the organization and conduct of the project work.


One suggestion for an evaluation scheme for a project involving both literature and laboratory or field research and a final report is given below. This scheme may be modified by the supervisor, and should be distributed to the student at the beginning of the project.

Lab Work: (50% weighting of final mark)

Evaluation Component Percent of grade
Initiative 20%
Technique 20%
Comprehension 20%
Organization, work habits, attention to safety/proper protocols 20%
Dedication and Perseverance 20%

Final Report: (50% weighting of final mark)

Evaluation Component Percent of grade
  • A concise summary of the report
  • No abbreviations used
Introduction, Statement of Objectives
  • Introduction of the research topic
  • Clear outline of the hypothesis, rationale, objective, and specific aims of the project
Literature Review
  • Showing depth and scope of the pertinent literature
Materials and Methods
  • Concise and explicit description of the experimental methods used
  • Detailed description of newly developed methods
  • Citation of appropriate references for methods not performed by the student themselves
  • Source of materials and chemicals used
  • Methods used for data analysis, if appropriate
  • Presentation of figures, tables, appendices where applicable, in a manner that is commonly used in research publications for the area
  • Inclusion of statistical significance of the data
  • Presentation of data solely generated by the student during the project
  • Demonstrating critical analysis of results and comprehension of subject area
Conclusions 5%
  • Citation of all literature referred to in the report
  • Consistent and appropriate format used
Clarity, grammar
  • Sentence structure, spelling
  • Overall organization