CHM Undergrads - Lab Work: Quantity, Tracking Research Credit Hours, Quality

Information on the quality and quantity of lab work and how to track research credit hours for undergraduates at the Center for Healthy Minds.



Unless explicitly noted otherwise, the following are required for all research credit students, including senior thesis students, Bio/Bot/Zoo 152 students, and URS students.

There are two aspects to lab work: quantity and quality. Both are important. An “A” student will exceed expectations in both aspects. How each will influence your grade is a complex interrelationship that will be defined by your supervisor. However, all students must meet clear minimum standards for both aspects. Lab work will be worth 80% of the overall research credit grade.

Lab Work: Quantity

Research students should, on average, complete 3 hours of lab work/week/credit (UW Psychology Dept Guidelines). This lab does not include finals week or spring break in calculating the total number of hours needed. Over the course of the semester, this works out to 45 hours per credit. This should be considered a minimum goal each semester. If any student has not met their total number of hours by the last day of class for the semester, they will be docked half a letter grade.

You must clarify the total hours you are expected to spend over the semester with your supervisor. Students typically work a consistent number of hours per week throughout the semester. It is possible that your supervisor may have a high-priority project that you can help with by putting in more hours than you first planned. If the total hours expected of you seem to be very low or very high relative to the number of credits you are registered for, you should discuss this with your supervisor. If you and your supervisor feel it is appropriate, you can change the number of credits you are registered for. See: Changing Number of Credits.

It is your responsibility to ensure you are working as much as you need to regularly and to communicate with your supervisor if assigned tasks are too demanding or do not adequately fill your time. Your supervisor is not required to provide extra work for you at the end of the semester because you are behind in the hours you must put in.

  • FAQ's
    • I'm registered for 3 credits, but my supervisor told me that I will have more than 9 hours of work per week on their project. Can I get paid for any hours that I work above and beyond my credit hours each week?
      • No. The 3 hours/credit/week rule of thumb is simply a guideline. What we really care about is the total number of credit hours worked by the end of the semester. You should think of it as a minimum standard. Furthermore, for a variety of reasons, supervisors can estimate incorrectly and the amount of work may vary greatly over the course of the semester. If, at mid-semester, it still seems that there is either too much or too little work for you to do based on the number of credits you are registered for, it is possible to change the number of research credits.
    • How many hours do I have to work over the summer for research credit?
      • The total number of hours is the same as during a spring or fall semester (45 hours for 1 credit, 90 hours for 2 credits etc.) All hours worked after the end of the spring semester may count toward any credits that are taken during the summer. Please be aware, that if you only work during the 8-week summer session, then the number of hours to work each week is doubled compared to a spring or fall semester. For example, if you are registered for 2 credits, you’d need to be able to work approximately 12 hours per week during the 8-week summer session compared to 6 hours per week during the spring or fall semester. See: Expectations for Summer Research Credit

Changing Number of Credits

If you and your supervisor feel it is appropriate, you can change the number of credits you are registered for. Please contact Jane Lambert ( for more information.

Tracking Research Credit Hours (Logsheet)

Research credit students use electronic logsheets to track their hours. Depending on your supervisor, different methods of tracking may be used (Google Calendar, Basecamp, etc). A template logsheet (Google Sheet) is included below. If your supervisor has assigned a different due date for your credit hours log, please follow your supervisor's instructions.

  • An electronic record of your research credit hours must be complete and viewable by your supervisor on the final day of classes for the semester, by 5:00 PM.
    • If you use the Undergrad Hours Log Google Sheet, make sure that you have given your supervisor access to it. 
    • Late or incomplete records of research credit hours may result in loss of credit for the hours worked.
    • Activities that do not count toward credit hours: homework, non-lab-related email, travel to and from the lab, personal conversations, lunch, preparing for FAN meetings (this is considered homework), and time spent working on the semester project (this is considered homework).

Summer 2024 Template Logsheet

Using Your Logsheet

  • Round up or down to the nearest 15 minutes (Example: if you worked 8:20-9:40, you would record your hours at 8:15-9:45. This is a total of 1.5 hours worked. Please list your hour totals in hour increments. So 1.5 hours instead of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s easier to add up that way.)
  • Include a running total of all hours worked.
  • Add a description of each day's work for your supervisor’s reference.

Lab Work: Quality

If assisting with data collection is part of your duties, it is important you show a willingness to sign up for sessions, that you show up on time for set-up beforehand as well as for the scheduled session itself, and that you stay for the whole session and help with clean-up afterward. In addition, it is of the utmost importance that you demonstrate an acceptable level of professional behavior, particularly when interacting with research subjects. The well-being of our participants is a higher priority than our need to collect data. Performance in this area of lab work will factor heavily into determining your grade.

In addition to completing a total number of hours and performance related to data collection, your lab work quality will also greatly factor in determining your grade. “A’s” are not given to students who simply put in their time and write a paper. “A” students go beyond meeting minimum requirements. They show initiative in all aspects of their research work, such as working independently on tasks, taking responsibility to execute tasks well and making suggestions concerning the tasks if applicable. They demonstrate an interest in learning about the aims of the study and how the data are further analyzed to address the study’s aims by reading papers related to the research, asking the supervisor questions on aspects – theoretical, methodological, or purely practical – of the research work being performed, and relating these aspects of the research to what the student has learned in classes, etc. The laboratory provides ample opportunities to learn, but it is up to you to take charge and profit from these opportunities and up to your supervisor to facilitate and guide you in this learning process.

Keywordsundergraduate credit rc tracking logsheet log sheet tracking sheet google sheet g sheet gsheet log hours logging hours what counts as research credit lab hours credit hours toward towards required number of hours not met   Doc ID135212
OwnerJane L.GroupCenter for Healthy Minds
Created2024-02-02 16:27:29Updated2024-05-03 08:32:06
SitesCenter for Healthy Minds
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