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Undergraduate Program

Research Opportunities

We offer several opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience doing modern biological research.

Independent Research Courses in Biological Sciences (####395)

Independent research courses allow students to gain research experience in the laboratories of biological science labs on the River Campus or at the Medical Center, and earn academic credit during the school year.

Students in this course will work with a faculty research mentor, and write and submit a final report. For more information about registering for this course, finding a mentor, and course requirements, see the independent research course page. 

de Kiewiet Summer Research Fellowships

Juniors in UPBM can apply to the de Kiewiet Summer Research Fellowship program to gain research experience in the laboratories of biological science labs on the River Campus or at the Medical Center during the summer. Fellowship students work with a faculty mentor in their area of interest and will create and present a poster of their research findings at the UPBM Poster Session in October of their fellowship year.

The selection process is competitive as the number of research positions is limited. For more information about applying to the program, finding a research mentor and fellowship requirements, see the de Kiewiet Summer Research Fellowships page.

Honors in Research / Defending a Senior Thesis

UPBM majors with research of exceptional quality and a minimum biology GPA of 2.7 may apply to the honors in research program during their senior year.

To be considered for this program, students must have developed a novel body of work that includes publication-quality data from which to generate a senior thesis. Students in the program will write, present, and defend a senior thesis based on their work before a faculty examination committee.

See the honors in research page for more information.

How to Get Started in Research as an Undergraduate Student

There are numerous opportunities for research as an undergraduate.  Where do you start?

Edwina the Research Fairy can give you guidelines on what to do first.

Undergraduates should begin searching for a research mentor before the semester beings as faculty may decline to sponsor a course.  It is important to start developing a professional rapport with faculty, see the sample email to send to the faculty member you are interested in working with.

View the Department of Biology's Undergraduate Bill of Rights here.

Supporting Professional and Research Competencies (SPARC)

SPARC will help students identify their academic interests and, once they have identified their focus, optimize their undergraduate research experience. 

The SPARC pathway is a series of sequential one-credit courses designed to efficiently refine skills in three distinct domains: professional, technical and communication. Not only will developing these skill sets make students a valuable asset to research labs, they will endow them with portable competencies for the 'real world' following graduation. For more information about this program, please contact Teresa Long at Instructions about how to register for the first course (ACCESS) may be found here.

International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) BIO 228A&B Course Series

Undergraduate participants in our International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team design and build their own engineered biological system using DNA technologies over the course of the summer. iGEM projects aim to solve local, real-world problems (for example, engineering bacteria that can break down plastic waste).

Our iGEM team is multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative, and student-managed. The team will travel (conditions permitting) to present their project to an international audience of more than 3,500 biologists from all over the world. To support our team, please visit our giving page.

Learn more about the program:

Office of Undergraduate Research

Outside of the department the Office of Undergraduate Research is a great resource for getting research funding, learning about undergraduate research conferences, and more.