Undergraduate Bio Research

Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

The Department of Biological Sciences has an active undergraduate research program. Interested students should read the instructions for BIO 399/499 (below) and complete the permission form in consultation with your proposed research supervisor. BIO 399 (for Juniors) and BIO4 99 (for Seniors) offer students the opportunity to carry out directed experimental research in some aspect of biology.


BIO 399/499 Overview

In ABIO 399/499, you will learn to design experiments to test a hypothesis, execute experiments, analyze, interpret results, and reach a conclusion. Each student is required to communicate their findings through a written scientific paper at the end of the semester, presenting their research in an oral or poster presentation at an Annual Research Symposium.

BS students have completed ABIO 399/499 for credit with Biology Department faculty, scientists from the Life Sciences Research Facility, Albany Medical College, New York State Department of Health, David Axelrod Institute, and RNA Institute, among others. Past BS in Biology students have also had their work published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.

We recommend that interested students attend the Department of Biological Sciences weekly seminar and review our faculty laboratory webpage. If you are interested in a particular lab, you can meet faculty during office hours to discuss a possible research project and requirements.

Register for BIO 399 or BIO 499
Select a Supervisor/Laboratory

Students should directly contact one or more approved Research Supervisors listed in the Supervised Research for Juniors and Seniors booklet in order to discuss the possibility of conducting research under their guidance. Because there are limited spots available, the process is competitive; students with more academic experience, higher GPAs, and greater motivation for research are given higher priority. A new project or supervisor not previously listed among the approved Bio399/499 supervisors must be approved by the Undergraduate Research Coordinator (Robert Osuna) prior to beginning the project.

Fill out a Permission Form

After discussing your research project with a research supervisor, fill out the permission form:

Permission form (PDF format)
Permission form (MSWord format)

Include a title and abstract stating the research question and how it will be addressed. Also include a signature from the Research Supervisor.

Complete Online Training Course in Biosafety

If this is your first semester conducting undergraduate research, you will need to complete an online Biosafety Training before a permission to register may be given. Instructions to complete the online Biosafety Training:

  • Go to this website
  • Register to create a new account
  • In the list of institutions, select "SUNY - University at Albany"
  • Complete the "account creation" process
  • From the list of available courses, select "Biosafety and Biosecurity"
  • Complete the "Basic Training"
  • Select "Training for Investigators, Staff, and Students Handling Biohazards"


  • Remember your username and password
  • Make sure you click on SUNY - University at Albany
  • You can log on as many times as you like, your progress will be saved
  • Should you have experience any problems, contact Cindy Higgins at the Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Print the final report and store it as a PDF file


In order to obtain a class number and a permission number to register, you must turn in the following electronic documents to [email protected] (in the Biology Department Office, Room 126 on the ground floor of the Biology Building):

  • Permission form complete with abstract and supervisor signature
  • IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME REGISTERING FOR UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH you will also need to submit the final report of the Biosafety Training as a pdf file. When you register, please remember to indicate the number of credits you wish to take. Otherwise, the default number of credits will be one.

Research Awards

Monetary awards, which are given based on the quality of research and the communication of the research, are also presented at the Annual Research Symposium.

  • The Glenn L. Bumpus Award - $500
  • The Department of Biological Sciences Awards for Excellence in Research  - $100 each

Important Notes

  • The Research Project: Three credits is equal to nine hours per week in the lab (20 hours per week in the Summer); Four credits is equal to 12 hours per week in the lab (30 hours per week in the Summer).
  • The Project should be a self-contained activity from which a paper with introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion sections can be written.
  • 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 give evidence that the student understands the scientific intellectual context of the work.
  • The paper must reach the Research Instructor by the last day of classes each semester. A graded copy of the paper will be due to the Research Coordinator seven days after the last day of classes.
  • Students who register for TWO or more semesters of Bio 399/499 are required to participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.