Research Opportunities
for Undergrads Links:

Introduction to Undergraduate Research

The Department of Biological Sciences has a very active undergraduate research program. Interested students should read the instructions for Bio 399/499 and complete the permission form in consultation with your proposed research supervisor.

ABIO 399 (Juniors) and 499 (Seniors) offers students the opportunity to carry out directed experimental research in some aspect of biology. See current Independent Research Supervisors

ABIO 399Z and 499Z are the writing intensive versions of BIO 399 / 499. Pre-requisite is one previous semester of either BIO 399 / 499 for at least two credits.

Supervisors are expected to work with students to produce a polished paper (~20 pages) suitable in language and form (but not necessarily results) for submission to a professional journal.

Getting Involved

Select a Supervisor/Laboratory: Students should talk directly with one or more prospective Research Supervisors listed in this booklet, or find someone on your own. Any new project or supervisor must be approved by the Undergraduate Research Coordinator prior to beginning the project. Potential research supervisors are found at many local research facilities. Before contacting them, you should read about their research and requirements in the Research Opportunities Booklet (250KB pdf file).

Permission Form [.docx or pdf]: After discussion with a research supervisor and agreement on the focus of your project, complete the Permission Form (In Bio Main Office–126). Include a title and abstract stating the question to be asked and how it will be pursued.

Registration: Obtain a Permission Number as follows:

  • Supervisors in the Biology Dept. -- The Department Office (Bio 126)

  • Off Campus & all Other Supervisors -- See Dr. Robert Osuna (LS2062)

The Research Project: 3 credits = no more than 10 hours per week in the lab)
The project should be a self-contained activity, from which a paper with introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion sections can be written. It is most often related to the major research being done in the laboratory, but it should have an intellectual identity of its own.

A Written Research Paper is required for each semester of registration:
The format must be consistent with scientific manuscripts published in the related field (generally including: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections).

Papers should not be purely descriptive or methodological, but should give evidence that the student understands the scientific intellectual context of the work.

A Graded copy of the paper must reach the Research Coordinator by the last day of classes each semester.

Students who register for TWO or more semesters of Bio 399/499 are required to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.