Research Projects in Human Biology


Deadline for HMB496Y1/HMB499Y1 in the Summer Term: May 1
Deadline for HMB496Y1/HMB499Y1 in the Academic Term: September 1

Important note: we have a policy of not allowing students to do a second research project course (HMB499Y) in the same lab.



Requirements for 3rd year students:

  • 9 FCE complete
  • HMB200H1/HMB201H1/HMB202H1/ HMB203H1/HMB204H1, BCH210H1 /CHM247H1, BIO230H1/BIO255H1, HMB265H1/BIO260H1
  • cGPA 3.5 or higher, and permission of the Human Biology Program*

Requirements for 4th year students:

  • 14 FCE complete,
  • a 300+ level laboratory course, HMB200H1/ HMB201H1/ HMB202H1/HMB203H1/ HMB204H1, a HMB300‐level course
  • cGPA 2.5 or higher, and permission of the Human Biology Program*

*Permission from Human Biology Program will be provided upon approval of student's application. 


Read through the HMB Research Project FAQ for more information.



A research project course presents an opportunity for students to learn and demonstrate competence in scientific research skills. Supervisors have a special responsibility to ensure both academic standards and fair treatment of the student, by conforming to the University of Toronto regulations such as the grading practices policy and by having realistic and appropriate expectations for student performance. 



The project should allow for the student to play an active role in project design, experimentation, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting results and conclusions both orally and in writing; and have a good chance of producing results before the course ends. The project preferably should be novel or a novel part of a bigger project, and cannot be a repetition of existing results. Projects can vary and wet lab based, computer based, literature based, human data/survey based projects are all suitable. For the latter, collection and analysis of data/literature is preferable, not simply literature review. Students cannot be paid for course credit work. Research can be remote or in person. 

1. Students are expected to be at the bench, or its equivalent, for ~8 hours per week in both the fall and winter session or 16 hours per week in the summer session. While time may vary week to week, students are expected to be actively working on their projects throughout the academic year, which includes additional time outside of the lab, working on literature research, analysis, writing assignments, meetings, talks etc. Students are expected to attend HMB workshops, comply with the course evaluation scheme, and be proactive with their time management. Students are expected to adhere to the University’s Code on Academic Matters, and to all safety regulations and protocols. 

2. Faculty Supervisors (any UofT faculty member may serve as supervisor, they need not be SGS appointed*) are expected to play an active role in the training and evaluation of the student, and to encourage the student to interact with other researchers in the lab and join activities such as lab meetings. Supervisors are expected to provide laboratory space (if necessary), materials, and direction to their own student. Supervisors are responsible for all matters of safety and training for the student and the project. Supervisors are also responsible for obtaining Research Ethics Board (REB, human) and Animal Use Protocol approval, prior to the start of the course (if required). Supervisors are expected to mark their own student’s written assignments, and final presentation, in a timely manner, to comply with course grade deadlines. Supervisors are asked to be aware of the University’s Code on Academic Matters, and if you suspect your student of plagiarizing and/or unethical conduct, to contact Human Biology. 

Graduate or Post-doctorate trainees may act as indirect supervisors for the students – to have undergraduates support research and help them gain valuable training/mentorship skills. They may also serve as evaluators for assignments on behalf of the faculty supervisor though grades must be approved and submitted by the faculty member.

*For more information on supervisor eligibility please see the HMB Research Project FAQ


Evaluation Overview (Detailed instructions for each evaluation will be posted on the course web site) 

Assignment and Description 


Due Date of Assignment 

Evaluation Due 

Evaluator of Assignment 

Progress Report 

Literature review and summary of progress to date 


Fall/Winter: mid-November 

Summer: mid-June

One week after due date 


Preliminary Skills Grade 

An assessment of student performance on the project 


Ongoing (First Half) 

Reported on Progress Report evaluation 


Preliminary Presentation 

A short presentation highlighting student progress 


Fall/Winter: January

Summer: July  

At Presentation 

Human Biology 

Final Presentation 

A presentation of  student research project and results 


Fall/Winter: late-March 

Summer: mid-August 

At presentation 

Human Biology & your supervisor, averaged 

Final Report 

A written report in the form of a research manuscript 


Fall/Winter: late-March 

Summer: mid-August 

One week after due date 


Research Skills Grade 

A final assessment of student performance on the project 


Ongoing (Second Half) 

Reported on Final Report evaluation 


*Specific details and late penalties will be available on the course syllabus, and can change.