Independent Research (SIO 199)

Undergraduate students at UC San Diego have the unique opportunity to work directly with Scripps Faculty on current research and projects while gaining academic credit through a Special Studies course (SIO 199). 

Special Studies courses, such as SIO 199, are intended to enable students to learn about subjects not taught in regular courses and to engage in research in the laboratory, in the field, or in the library. Such a project should be carefully planned with the faculty advisor along the lines of the student’s overall academic plan.

While there are numerous Scripps faculty willing to work with students for an SIO 199, students are responsible for finding a faculty advisor and setting up a plan for their project.

*Students enrolled in SIO 199 during any quarter are highly encouraged to present at the annual Scripps Undergraduate Research Symposium*


How to enroll in SIO 199 - Independent Study

  1. Learn if you're eligible for Special Studies 199 classes
    • You must have completed at least 90 units with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
    • Read the Academic Senate policy on Special Studies classes.
    • Students should contact their Department Advisors regarding the possibility of using SIO 199 units to fulfill Major requirements.
  2. Identify and meet with your potential Faculty Instructor
    • Consider the following:
      1. Which faculty instructors are doing research in your field of interest
      2. How you can make an appointment to meet that instructor
      3. Check out the SIO Research Topics page to browse current research and labs on campus
    • Meet with your potential instructor to design a project that fits your academic plan.
      1. Make sure to discuss:
        • The nature of the project, how often you will meet, your knowledge of the subject, how you will be evaluated.
      2. Note:  Potential SIO 199 Instructors must have a UC San Diego faculty appointment.
  3. Complete an application online
    1. Applications are completed online via the Enrollment Authorization System.
    2. Select “Special Studies” as your Request Type.
    3. Select “SIO Department” as your Department/Program.
    4. Select “SIO 199” as your Course.
    5. Select your Faculty Instructor from the drop-down list.
    6. Select the appropriate number of requested units (4 units is most common).
    7. Fill out the appropriate sections of the application in coordination with your Faculty Instructor.
    8. Submit your online application.
  4. Confirm that you have been enrolled in the class.
    • If approved, you will be emailed confirmation and enrollment information.
    • Check your schedule on WebReg to confirm your enrollment


SIO 199 Information for Marine Biology Majors:

All Marine Biology Majors interested in enrolling in SIO 199 must also complete the SIO 199 Supplemental Application for Marine Biology Majors.  This supplemental document has sections that must be completed by both the student applicant AND the proposed faculty advisor.  Student must submit their completed Supplemental Application as a PDF attachment to the online SIO 199 EASY Application.  Incomplete or missing Supplemental Applications will result in your SIO 199 application being denied.

SIO 199’s (and other 199 experiences) do NOT automatically apply as Electives in the Marine Biology major.  The SIO Department must review and approve (by student petition only) all independent student research projects for major credit.  Students must also have previously indicated on their Supplemental Application what type of major credit (if any) they intend on requesting. 

Students interested in the possibility of using a 199 to meet a lab elective requirement should discuss the process with a department advisor before initiating a 199 application.