Independent Study

Undergraduates within the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences are encouraged to pursue independent laboratory or industrial research during the academic year or summer break.

Many Washington University in St. Louis faculty have research openings for students. Students should reach an agreement with a faculty member who is willing to serve as supervisor on the objective and scope of the project. The faculty supervisor must be either employed full time in the School of Engineering or affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Application Requirements

In cooperation with the faculty supervisor, the student will prepare a written proposal including:

  1. A clear and concise statement of the objective of the project.
  2. A brief synopsis of the work to be done (e.g., literature search, apparatus design/construction, laboratory experiment) and a statement as to the estimated design content, if any, for engineering topics credits.
  3. A justification for the requested total number of credits (see Guidelines for expected workload per credit hour). BME 400 is to be used for 1-6 credit hours of independent study with no engineering topics units.
  4. BME 400A, 400B, 400C pertain to a request for 1, 2, 3 engineering topics units respectively); Note, when requesting engineering topics units, you must justify the engineering content (e.g. design an experiment, instrument, program or model a system).
  5. A realistic budget for necessary materials, services or equipment and the source of the funds required.
  6. The final outcome expected by the supervisor (e.g., written report, working program, instrument or mechanism, etc.) on which your grade will be based. Note: the BME department requires a final report to be submitted to the BME office as well (see Guidelines for content length).

The proposal must be accompanied by a Request for Approval form. The form must be signed by the student, supervisor and the student's BME academic advisor. Note that three units of BME 400C may be used to fulfill a Tier II course as part of the undergraduate curriculum, but the student must register for a grade (not pass-fail).

Deadline and Approvals

The proposal and the form must be submitted five working days prior to the last day to add a course.

The proposal will be evaluated by the biomedical engineering department Undergraduate Studies Committee and approved for total course credits and engineering topics units. A copy of the approved proposal shall be placed in the student’s file.