Baylor University To Offer New Interdisciplinary Major Emphasizing Scientific Research

Science Research Fellows Lab
(Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
Oct. 25, 2016

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

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WACO, Texas (Oct. 24, 2016) – Beginning in fall 2017, Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences will add a new interdisciplinary degree plan – the Science Research Fellows (SRF) major – which will allow students to earn a bachelor of science degree with increased opportunities for research.

The major is expected to attract high-achieving students interested in scientific research in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience, environmental science, anthropology, geosciences and physics.

“The Science Research Fellows major adds a unique opportunity to our curriculum,” said Frank H. Mathis, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate studies, sciences, in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Among the flexible interdisciplinary majors now offered at Baylor, the distinctive feature of SRF is an intensive involvement in scientific research at the undergraduate level. The program is not for everyone, but it’s a perfect fit for students who are serious about a career that involves scientific research.”

The Science Research Fellows major will provide a research-rich curriculum that prepares students for the rigors of research in multiple aspects of scientific inquiry. Students will be placed in research labs by the fall of their sophomore year, where they will continue to conduct research until they finish their degree. The program will accept approximately 10 new students each year, and will foster a mutually beneficial mentor relationship between students and Arts & Sciences faculty.

“Undergraduate research is an important engaged learning experience that is preparing our students for lifelong careers,” said Lee C. Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Science Research Fellows is a valuable tool that will help us recruit and retain outstanding students who have a passion for research. That desire will be honed during their time in the program as they work closely with faculty mentors in their chosen fields of study.”

Rizalia M. Klausmeyer, Ph.D., associate director of the Office of Prehealth Studies and a part-time lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry, is the founding director of the Science Research Fellows program. She said she’s looking forward to helping research-minded students flourish at Baylor.

“We’re going to mentor them and guide them through the complexities of scientific research because we want them to succeed. We’re also going to prepare them to make successful applications to top-tier graduate and professional programs,” Klausmeyer said.

During their freshman year, SRF majors will be required to take a class on research methods covering a range of scientific disciplines.

“The class will allow students to see how research is done across different disciplines,” Klausmeyer said. “After completing the class, students will declare a main track within the major. Depending on what that chosen concentration is – whether it’s chemistry or psychology or another field of study – we will arrange interviews with professors in that field so that students can find a faculty member with whom to do research. The students will then begin that research by the start of their sophomore year.”

Klausmeyer said SRF students don’t necessarily need to have an area of specialization in mind when they apply for the program.

“We welcome students who know they like science and want to have a career in it, but are maybe not yet sure about what kind of science is the best match for their interests and abilities,” she said. “But all SRF students should be planning to do some sort of postgraduate study, in most cases resulting in a Ph.D. or a combination of the Ph.D. and M.D. degrees.”

Applications for the inaugural group of Fellows are being accepted, beginning Nov. 1, 2016. All applicants must first be accepted to Baylor University’s Fall 2017 freshman class before applying. Students can apply online through their goBAYLOR account, or through the Science Fellows website at www.baylor.edu/srf. Questions about the application process or other aspects of the SRF program can be submitted at Science_Fellows@baylor.edu.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES

The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.

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