What is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE)?

The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences has sponsored a Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) since 2007.  PURE provides students with an opportunity to conduct biomedical research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.  PURE students conduct research over the summer and then continue their projects during the academic year.  As an additional part of the program, students register in both fall and spring semesters for a PURE seminar.  This seminar class augments the undergraduate research experience by providing an additional venue for the communication and comprehension of hypothesis-driven science.  PURE students also attend presentations on chemical/biological/radiation safety, career paths in the biomedical sciences, information fluency in the life sciences, and graduate school admissions/expectations.  These collective activities are designed to prepare our students for success in post-baccalaureate training programs.  As a capstone project for PURE, each student presents a poster of their research for the UCF Showcase for Undergraduate Research Excellence.

What is the time commitment for PURE?

Students are expected to devote 10-20 hours per week to their research project for the duration of PURE.  In addition, during the academic year students will attend a weekly two hour seminar course which will be primarily devoted to student presentations of papers from the primary literature and their own research projects.

How can I apply to PURE?

Download the application here and mail the completed form to PURE@ucf.edu.

Where can I find more information on undergraduate research?

Download an FAQ on undergraduate research here.  For additional information, refer the Office of Undergraduate Research

Who is eligible for PURE?

PURE is designed for Burnett School majors (Biotechnology or Molecular Biology and Microbiology).  Juniors and rising juniors with at least a 3.4 GPA can apply to the program in the spring term.  You must have at least 3 semesters remaining at UCF to participate in PURE, and you must be available for lab work over the summer.  More information can be found here.

I am not majoring in a Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences program (Biotechnology or Molecular Biology and Microbiology).  Can I still participate in PURE?

If you are already working for a faculty mentor with a research program involving an area of molecular biology, you can apply to PURE even if you are not enrolled in a Burnett School degree program.

Can I begin PURE in the fall term?  Can I enroll in PURE for a single semester?

PURE is a 3 semester program that begins in the summer.  A research-intensive summer is followed by research and a seminar course during the academic year, with a spring capstone project involving a poster presentation of the student’s research project at the UCF Showcase for Undergraduate Research Excellence.  PURE is designed to provide a holistic research experience and cannot therefore be broken into individual one or two semester projects.

Can I participate in HIM, RAMP, or other programs while enrolled in PURE?

PURE students are encouraged to take full advantage of the research opportunities offered by UCF, so co-enrollment in PURE and other UCF research programs is acceptable.

Do I need to find my own faculty mentor for PURE?

No.  If you are accepted into PURE, you will be placed with a faculty mentor based on your stated research preferences.  Due to the limited number of available positions, all placements are final.

I already have a faculty mentor.  Can I still participate in PURE?

Yes.  A line on the PURE application form asks if you currently have a research mentor.  You can use an existing lab position / project as the basis for your research efforts in PURE.  You will still need to apply to the program, and you will need the approval of your faculty mentor to join.

Can I work with a faculty mentor who is not in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences?

Yes.  Any faculty member who works in an area related to molecular biology can sponsor a PURE project.

Does PURE provide a stipend during the summer and/or academic year?

No.  PURE is currently unfunded, so there is no source of money to support participating students.  However, PURE students are regularly alerted to external funding opportunities.  They have been very successful in obtaining independent funding in the form of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and awards.

Why do participating students need to complete a registration form for each semester of PURE?

To ensure full participation in both research and the PURE seminar, the faculty mentor and PURE coordinator co-sign a registration form before each semester.

How is PURE graded?

PURE is graded on an S/U basis.  A satisfactory grade requires ongoing, active participation in both the lab and the PURE seminar.  The faculty mentor and PURE coordinator jointly agree to the S/U grade.  Completion of the PURE program counts as a restricted elective for Burnett School majors.  However, note that only one “Research-related restricted elective” (i.e., PURE, PILOT, or Honors-in-the Major) will be allowed to substitute for a regular restricted elective credit.  Students can enroll in as many of these programs/courses as they wish, but only one will be allowed to substitute for a regular restricted elective credit. The additional research-related credits may count as part of the 120 required for graduation or as upper division 48 hour requirement.  MCB 4920C Group-Effort Applied Research (GEAR) is a regular elective and does not count as a “Research-related restricted elective credit” for course substitution.

What happens if I drop out of PURE?

You will receive credit for the semester(s) you completed in the form of 1 S/U credit per semester for MCB 4912.  You will not receive a restricted elective credit unless you complete the three semester program.  If you drop out in the middle of the semester, you will receive either a W or U for that semester’s grade.