Practical Experience & Research

The Department of Veterinary & Animal Sciences encourages students to pursue work outside the conventional lecture or class-associated lab environment and to undertake research projects under the direction of a UMass faculty member or as outside internship experiences.  Classes are taken pass/fail or for a letter grade, and range from significant discovery-based research projects (‘91C/M courses), independent literature or data review and analysis (’96 courses), or an internship/practicum experience (’98 courses). NOTE:  No more than 18 credits of ’98 courses can be applied to the 120 credits required for graduation, and no more than 15 credits of ’98 courses can be applied to the 45 credit residence requirement.

Electronic format contracts for faculty sponsors and students are available online or in print format outside the Undergraduate Program Office.

Biotechnology Research Experience

Biotechnology Research Experience Contract.  Completed contracts should be emailed to mschneider [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu (Mary Schneider) or printed out and returned to Mary Schneider, 427Z ISB.

ANIMLSCI 291C - Biotech Research -Cellular & Molecular I         1 credit
     Science Day Requirement: abstract to be posted or submitted to PI
ANIMLSCI 291M - Biotech Research-Animal Models I      1 credit
     Science Day Requirement: abstract to be posted or submitted to PI
ANIMLSCI 391C - Biotech Research-Cellular & Molecular II        2 credits
     Science Day Requirement: poster or oral presentation
ANIMLSCI 391M - Biotech Research-Animal Models II     2 credits
     Science Day Requirement: poster or oral presentation
ANIMLSCI 491C - Biotech Research-Cellular & Molecular III       3 credits
     Science Day Requirement: poster or oral presentation
ANIMLSCI 491M - Biotech Research-Animal Models III   3 credits
     Science Day Requirement: poster or oral presentation

Biotechnology Research Experience courses are letter-graded discovery-based tutorial research experiences with a UMass faculty sponsor that emphasize cellular and molecular approaches (ANIMLSCI 291C, 391C, or 491C) or animal models (ANIMLSCI 291M, 391M, or 491M) in research related to biotechnology. Research projects can be focused on optimization of a research technique, the development of a research tool, or experimental testing of a hypothesis. The course title “Biotech Research- Cell & Molec I, II, or III” or “Biotech Research- Animal Models I, II, or III” will be visible on the transcript to potential employers or graduate/professional schools. Course levels are based on the number of credits taken, with 1 credit averaging 3 hours of work per week over 15 weeks of the fall or spring semester (i.e. 291= 1 credit; 391= 2 credits; 491= 3 credits). Hours may include time spent in lab, in group meetings, or on background reading, and will be agreed upon in advance between the student and the faculty sponsor. Courses can be taken multiple times for credit.

Students wishing to enroll in a biotechnology research experience course should identify a potential faculty sponsor at UMass, preferably by their junior year, and contact that faculty sponsor to inquire whether he or she has available spots in his or her research projects and if so, to discuss the project and expectations. The faculty sponsor and student match the time to be committed by the student to the number of credits to be enrolled in and agree on the reporting requirement of a poster at Science Day in the spring semester or an oral presentation in a group meeting. Faculty sponsors for the ‘91C/M courses can be from any department at UMass. In addition to the VASCI department, faculty in the Psychology and Brain Sciences, Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology departments have sponsored students. VASCI faculty have also sponsored students from majors other than Animal Science or Pre-Veterinary Science. Submit completed contract to mschneider [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu (Mary Schneider) or 427Z ISB to have course added to your schedule.

Form of posters or oral presentations for Biotechnology Research Experience classes
1. All reports should contain the following information:
       a. Title and names of student, any collaborators, and faculty sponsors
       b. Abstract of 200-300 words summarizing the project and conclusions (poster)
       c. Introduction- What is known thus far, significance of research question and   hypothesis to be tested or goal of project
       d. Materials and Methods
       e. Results- quantitation of data and statistical analysis is encouraged
       f. Conclusions- interpretation of findings and suggestions for further research
       g. References (poster)
2. Presentation of background, hypothesis, and data interpretation are integral to scientific research. Students will be supported in this endeavor by their sponsoring faculty and faculty in charge of the ’91 courses (e.g. how to use PowerPoint and Photoshop software for posters and oral presentations, how to run statistical analyses). Students are also encouraged to participate in the annual Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference (https://www.honors.umass.edu/undergraduate-research-conference).

Independent Study Courses (’96 courses)

ANIMLSCI 496 or ANIMLSCI 596 courses may be taken under the direct supervision of a UMass faculty sponsor and may be used for literature or data review and analysis or other projects of that do not fit in the ’91 Biotechnology Research course structure. A letter grade and course title “Independent study” is listed on the student’s transcript. ANIMLSCI 596 is a graduate-level course; generally this level is used by upper level undergraduates but can be used by beginning graduate students. Products to be generated in the ’96 courses are determined by the sponsoring faculty and agreed to by the student. Examples of appropriate independent study outputs include: papers, posters, oral reports or a portfolio of work. A 1 credit independent study course averages 3 hours of work per week over 15 weeks of the fall or spring semester, or 45 hours total per semester. Credits may vary from 1 to 6, or 3 (1 credit) to 18 (6 credits) hours of work per week. Submit completed contract to 427Z ISB or mschneider [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu (Mary Schneider) to have course added to your schedule.

Internships/Practicum Courses (‘98 courses)

The Veterinary & Animal Sciences Department strongly encourages students to do internships in order to achieve the diverse veterinary medical related experience required for a competitive veterinary medical school or graduate school application and to explore alternative career options. The 298, 398, and 498 practicum courses are a mechanism for students to earn credit for these internship experiences. Each course is graded pass/fail and can be taken for 1-18 credits, the total amount of credits applied toward the 120 credits required for graduation is limited to 18 credits. The department maintains a list of local veterinary clinics, biotech companies, farms, zoos, animal shelters, animal trainers and behaviorists, and wildlife centers where Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Science students have interned in the past. The College of Natural Sciences maintains an internship database, as well as links to other sources of internship information https://www.cns.umass.edu/students/internships.

Students interested in working in a Massachusetts life sciences company may pursue the Life Sciences Internship Challenge (http://www.masslifesciences.com/programs/internship/) from the end of their sophomore year to one year after their graduation with a B.S. or M.S. degree. The Life Sciences Internship Challenge is a workforce development program focused on enhancing the talent pipeline for life sciences companies in Massachusetts and offers part- or full-time paid internships in the year from May 1st -April 30th.

Students enrolled in a ’98 course are covered for liability by the UMass Amherst General Liability (GL) plan. Liability insurance covers any damage a student may cause at an internship site, such as damage to property or to another person at the internship site. It does not cover injury to the student, which is covered by the student’s health insurance policy. Some human direct care internships (e.g. nursing or psychology) may require additional Direct Care coverage from their family’s homeowners insurance. If an internship sponsor requires evidence of liability insurance coverage, the student enrolled in a ’98 course should send the mailing address of the internship sponsor to mklysako [at] umass [dot] edu (Mary Lysakowski), the director of Internships and Co-ops at Career Services. The UMass Treasurer’s Office will then generate a certificate of liability coverage and send it directly to the internship sponsor.

In order to enroll in a ’98 practicum course for the fall or spring semester, students should first identify an internship sponsor and then a faculty sponsor. The student and sponsoring faculty discuss the project, the appropriate number of credits and the product to be produced, which is usually a journal documenting the hours worked and what was learned, or a paper on related topic. Submit completed contract to mschneider [at] vasci [dot] umass [dot] edu (Mary Schneider) or 427Z ISB to have course added to your schedule. The student submits the journal or paper to the sponsoring faculty by the end of the final exam period, so that a final grade may be assigned.

Summer practicum ’98 courses offer a chance to receive credit for a more intensive internship experience and liability insurance coverage. The cost is $195 per credit plus $45 registration (2016 fee schedule).  As in the spring and fall semester, students identify an internship sponsor and faculty sponsor. If an UMass faculty member is the internship sponsor, another UMass faculty member serves as the faculty sponsor- one person can’t do both. For summer ’98 enrollment, students sign up via Career Services and CareerConnect.

     1. CareerConnect URL for student login:  https://www.umass.edu/careers/log-umass-amherst-careerconnect
     2. Go to: Profile –> Internships/Co-ops –> Add New  (Refer questions to Mary Lysakowski in Career Services, 510 Goodell or call 413-545-6265)
     3. Faculty sponsor receives an email requesting their approval of enrollment
     4. Pay $195 per credit + $45 registration fee, (2016 fee schedule) register for ’98 course.
     5. Enjoy internship!
     6. Submit product to faculty sponsor by the end of the second summer session, in time for the faculty sponsor to assign the final grade.

Teaching Assistant

ANIML SCI 296T - Introduction to Teaching in Animal Science

Students gain experience in teaching all aspects of  Animal Science courses. Students will be expected to demonstrate specific competencies related to labs and assisting students; and lead review sessions. No contract required. Instructors send list of TA’s to Undergraduate Program Office to add course to student’s schedule. For Moodle access, a FERPA form must be completed by TA and submitted to instructor.

ANIML SCI 396T - Intermediate Teaching in Animal Science

Students gain further experience in teaching all aspects of  Animal Science courses. Students will be expected to demonstrate specific competencies related to labs and assisting students; and lead review sessions. No contract required. Instructors send list of TA’s to Undergraduate Program Office to add course to student’s schedule. For Moodle access, a FERPA form must be completed by TA and submitted to instructor.

ANIML SCI 496T - Advanced Teaching in Animal Science

Students gain advanced experience in teaching all aspects of Animal Science courses. The learning objectives of AnSci 496T include the clear oral communication of scientific information, the formation of good pedagogical practice, and the design of assessment tools. For Moodle access, a FERPA form must be completed by TA and submitted to instructor.

Undergraduate TA’s are registered as follows:
           AnSci 296T 1-2 credits. Repeatable once for credit.
   After completing the AnSci 296T level twice, Undergrad TA’s are next registered in:
           AnSci 396T, 1-2 credits. Repeatable once for credit.
   After completing the AnSci 396T level twice, Undergrad TA’s are next registered in:
           AnSci 496T, 1-2 credits. Repeatable once for credit.