Biology students have the unique opportunity to conduct mentored, self-directed research projects by working with biology faculty. Our faculty study topics as varied as how bacteria survive in host cells, floristics of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, the interaction of molecular motor proteins with mitochondria in cells, and the distribution of soil nematodes in the Mojave Desert, to name a few. A mentored undergraduate research experience has many benefits including:

  • Being part of a community of scholars, where you develop meaningful working relationships with your faculty mentor and other students in the research group.
  • Expansion of your education outside the classroom as you strengthen your understanding of biology and build your skills for future employment.
  • The opportunity to present your research at national and international conferences and at the School of Arts & Sciences' annual Student Symposium. A number of travel grants are also available for students who are ready to present their research at meetings and conferences.
  • Serving as co-author on publications relating to your research.

Research During the Academic Year

Students who have secured a research mentor, may, with permission of the mentor, enroll in BIOL 394 (Undergraduate Research) or BIOL 395 for .5 units or 1 unit of credit respectively.

Summer Research

Many biology students take advantage of the opportunity to engage in full-time research during the summer. This is especially encouraged for students interested in in graduate school and/or careers in research labs. The department's endowment provides several $4,500 stipends for students who do research on campus for a 10-week period during the summer. In addition, the School of Arts & Sciences awards many summer research fellowships, both through its own funding sources as well as national partners like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Plus, several biology faculty members have outside funding that provides stipends for summer research. There are also off-campus opportunities for undergraudate research at larger research-oriented universities; contact your academic advisor for more information about these programs.