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Planning Your Scientific Journey (Self-Paced)

Enrollment is Closed
Enrollment for this course is closed. If you would like to take this course, please sign up here for our on our new “V2” platform. You can view the V2 version of this course’s about page here.

About This Course

Being successful as a scientist requires more than acquiring knowledge and developing experimental skills. It also requires: (1) asking a good scientific question, (2) establishing a clear plan of action, and (3) seeking advice along the way. These three topics are the focus of this course “Planning Your Scientific Journey,” which is aimed primarily at life science graduate and undergraduate students, but also useful for postdocs, staff scientists, and others who could benefit from learning or reviewing these topics. (If you are interested in requiring this course for your own trainees, please click here for more information.)

By the end of the course, you will have:

  1. Criteria to evaluate a research question.
  2. A plan for how to approach your scientific question and other research goals.
  3. An agenda for a meeting with your mentor to get feedback on your plan.

Planning Your Scientific Journey is an innovative online course. Engaging videos, along with reflective exercises, offer concrete tools and practical advice to help you navigate the most challenging aspects of developing and planning a research project. Instruction is led by a diverse group of leading scientists, such as Nobel Laureates, accomplished faculty, and junior scientists, who think about different aspects scientific training in deep and meaningful ways.

Whether you have yet to decide on a research question or are well-immersed in a project, this course will help to crystallize your research ideas and goals. So, take charge of your training and enroll in this course now!

If you have any problem starting and using this course, or just want to comment on your experience or offer a suggestion, please email us. And if you're interested, you can read more about the creation of Planning Your Scientific Journey in this blog post on iBiology.


There are no requirements necessary to take this class.

Course Format

Planning Your Scientific Journey is an on-demand, self-paced course. This means that, as soon as you enroll, all course content is available to you and may be consumed at your own pace. For your reference, it took students 6 weeks to complete the whole course in a hosted, synchronized format. They spent on average 2-3.5 hours on the course per week. This includes time spent watching videos, reading text, doing assessments, and engaging in the forum.

Course Speakers

Montage of iBiology Courses speaker headshots.

We've interviewed leaders in the scientific community about doing good science, and we present those interviews to you in this course. Speakers include:

  • Uri Alon
  • Angela DePace
  • Tejal Desai
  • Cynthia Fuhrmann
  • Ryan Hernandez
  • Asia Matthew-Onabanjo
  • Kassandra Ori-McKenney
  • Sabine Petry
  • Indira Raman
  • Randy Schekman
  • Clarissa Scholes
  • Ben Vincent
  • Keith Yamamoto

Course Directors

  • Shannon Behrman
  • Alexandra Schnoes

Course Staff

  • Noah Green
  • Nina Griffin
  • Beth Cohon
  • Chris George
  • Eric Kornblum
  • Daniel McQuillen

Course Advisory Team

  • Sarah Goodwin
  • Elliot Kirschner
  • Ron Vale


Mónica Feliú-Mójer, Rosa Veguilla, Karen Dell, Pam Ronald, Gary McDowell, Ashley Matthew

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

What do I get at the end?

When you complete the course, you will receive a printable certificate from iBiology Courses to commemorate your participation in the course.

  1. Course Number

  2. Course Starts

    Anytime, self-paced
  3. Estimated Effort (hours/week)

  4. Estimated Duration

    6 weeks
  5. View Syllabus


“I loved this course so much. Thank you for the opportunity to learn from so many wise scientists in a fun, easy to use, yet challenging and stimulating way.”

-Graduate student

“I usually do not like online courses, but I found myself very engaged in these lessons and really enjoyed watching the videos. Great professionals were chosen for this!”

-Graduate student

“I wish I had this course as a beginning graduate student. I will definitely use all concepts in training my students in the future.”


“It has given me a sense of control over what I am getting into (I am starting grad school this fall as a PhD student)...I feel more confident about grad school now because of this course.”

-Undergraduate student

“Great course!! Seriously this has vastly better prepared me for a career in academia than any other single course I've taken.”

-Graduate student