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Undergraduate students majoring in any of the biological sciences have opportunity to participate in research at many different levels depending on their areas of interest and motivation. At the introductory level, most courses in the department have laboratory experiences that are formulated as research activities. Upper level laboratory courses involve more sophisticated techniques and research projects. Finally, students can participate in laboratory research with a faculty member. This involves working in a faculty advisor’s laboratory with graduate students and sometimes other undergraduate students. Students seeking independent research opportunities must contact one or more faculty members. Information about research in faculty laboratories can be obtained through web pages and in the biological sciences department office. It is highly recommended that students see faculty before preregistration and preferably during the second semester of the sophomore year to have the best chance of working with the faculty mentor of choice. Students usually start by either doing a writing intensive project with the faculty research advisor or by assisting and observing another student around the lab.
Students interested in departmental honors will, in addition to maintaining high grades, need to develop a hypothesis for an independent research project. After preparation and submission of a proposal, the honors candidate is expected to present a poster, and write a thesis to summarize their research findings. Financial support for honors and independent study is available through a competitive application process in the department.