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BIOL 378 Experimental Design in Biology

The cornerstone of science is the ability to examine existing information, create a hypothesis, and determine methods for testing that hypothesis. In this course students will learn how to construct a testable hypothesis and how to determine the best methods for testing that hypothesis. This not only includes critically distilling and examining current literature, but also understanding experimental ethics, sample size considerations, and data presentation in the forms expected of scientists. This course is intended as an upper division elective in the Biology and Environmental Science Majors. Through assignments such as research proposals, mini-reviews, journal club presentations, posters, lightning talks, and research presentations, students will develop their skills for critically evaluating scientific literature and determining the next steps of discovery.


Special information

First day attendance is mandatory.Note: Enrollment limited to Biology, Environmental Science, and Life Science Teaching majors only, except by instructor permission.
2 Undergraduate credits

Effective May 4, 2022 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Create an evidence based argument using primary literature sources
  • Create a robust experimental design
  • Determine the data needed to support or refute a hypothesis
  • Discuss ethical considerations to be made with their design.