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Immersion Planning in Biochemistry & Chemical Biology (BCB)

The undergraduate BCB program was designed as an immersive STEM major. Described in are potential pathways to satisfy the Immersion requirement. 

1.     Research as Immersion 

The BCB major has immersion built in to the major so no additional immersion project is required outside of the major unless. Of course, students are welcomed to choose a non-research immersive experience.   Several pathways are outlined below. In each case, the product of the experience takes the form of a written report in the style of a scientific journal, an oral presentation or poster presentation. Immersion Advisers: This will change based on your specific Immersion pathway.  

(A)          Built-In Option. This pathway consists of the student conducting research in a laboratory of their choosing for one semester in BCB 3201, then completing their immersive experience with the required BCB 4965 and optional BCB 4966 advanced integrated laboratory courses or other optional BCB elective that supports the immersion project. Students would identify an Immersion project that would be initiated in some fashion in BCB 3201 and continued in 4965 and 4966 under the direction of BCB 4965/ BCB 4966 instructor. 

A second option for students in the chemical biology track may use their required BCB 4965 and take the optional BCB 4966 along with another BCB elective that supports the immersion project.  Students would identify an Immersion project within BCB 4965 under the direction of BCB 4965/ BCB 4966 instructor.  Immersion Advisor: BCB major adviser then switch to BCB 4965 instructor.

Pathway A1-2

Pathway A2-2


B)          Independent research.  This is similar to pathway A but allows the student to conduct research in a laboratory of their choosing for two semesters within BCB 3201. The second semester of research counts as a general elective in the BCB major.  Immersion Advisor: BCB major adviser then switch to your lab research mentor. 

Pathway B-2_2 

(C)        Honors Research. In this pathway, students complete three semesters of research for credit in a laboratory of their choosing, first in BCB 3201 and then in Honors Research BCB 4999 if they fulfill the Honors requirements. The Honors Research courses are in addition to BCB major requirements. A written thesis is presented to and defended in front of an Honors Committee.  Immersion Advisor: BCB major adviser then switch to your lab research mentor.

 Pathway C-2_2


(D)          Summer research. This pathway is for students who are conducting a full-time Summer Research Experience on or off campus. On-campus opportunities may arise from VSSA, VUSRP, SYBBURE or through independent funding for on-campus laboratories. There are numerous off-campus programs that are supported by NSF, NIH, private foundations, and industry. These may be paid or unpaid experiences but are not credit bearing. The experience must total 300-500 hours in order to fulfill immersion requirements.  If you choose this option, you must have this cleared with the Office of Immersion before you begin the experience.  Immersion Advisor: BCB Director of Undergraduate Studies.

 Pathway D-2_2


2. Civic Engagement as Immersion 

This optional pathway is designed for students interested in science communication and/or teaching science in primary or secondary schools. Students will be required to develop a plan for course work that will represent a coherent body of knowledge equivalent to at least 9 credit hours. The plan will include one BCB core course, one related science course that increases depth of knowledge, and one course in science communication or education. The student will then produce a product involving either development of public policy documents for legislators or the general public or development of teaching or laboratory materials suitable for K-12 educators. This process would be overseen by the Immersion coordinator.  

 Civic Engagement_2