Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Many undergraduate students conduct research as a part of their college experience. Students conduct research with faculty in the Department of Biology, with faculty in the medical center, or with scientists in the D.C. area (e.g., the NIH, Smithsonian, etc.). As described below, students can obtain course credit or support during the summer.

RISE (Research Intensive Senior Experience)

The RISE program is designed to allow students to have an opportunity to delve deeply into a research project over the course of a year. Students will develop a research project in conjunction with a faculty member mentor and will work on it over the course of the senior year. Mentors can be a member of the Department of Biology, or they can be a faculty member from another department (such as faculty from the Medical Center) or from another institution (such as the NIH or Smithsonian) with a Biology faculty member as a co-mentor. Research projects can be performed in the laboratory, in the field, in the classroom, on computers, or in conjunction with an internship. Many RISE projects are continuations of tutorial research projects (see below). The credits for RISE will be 3-cr in both the fall and spring terms.

RISE replaces our long-running Senior Thesis (from 1962 to 2011), retaining the best elements - such as student-center research projects that can lead to publications and direct interactions with faculty and their lab members - while expanding the program to allow a broader range of experiences. Additionally the expected student products have shifted from a written thesis to written manuscripts and posters, both of which are more commonly encountered in professional scientific settings.

Research Tutorial

Students who are interested in conducting research in biology and/or starting their RISE (Research Intestive Senior Experience) project before the senior year can enroll in the Research Tutorial (BIOL-300) for 3 credits. These 3-credits will be applied to any of the majors sponsored by the Department of Biology; see the program description from each major but generally BIOL-300 is applied as major elective credit. Further research for credit can be taken by enrolling in BIOL-304; however, these credits will not count towards the major but instead will be applied towards the total credit count as college elective.  Students who are obtaining a minor in Biology may also conduct Tutorial Research. 

In order to enroll in BIOL-300, you must identify a faculty member within the Department of Biology who will mentor your project. Typically faculty have research projects related to on-going research in their laboratories. If you identify someone in the Medical Center or off campus (such as the National Institutes of Health, Smithsonian, etc.), you will still need a departmental faculty member to co-mentor the project. Generally, the research project is discussed and planned out prior to the beginning of the semester. Enrolling requires using an Add/Drop form with the faculty member's signature, and filling out a BIOL-300 syllabus to describe the project and to detail expectations. See your advisor, research mentor or any Biology faculty member for additional information.

GUROP: Georgetown University Research Opportunities Program

The Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (GUROP) offers motivated students the opportunity to learn the discipline and experience the rewards of scholarly research by working with faculty on their research projects.  Students spend a minimum of 70 hours per semester/summer working with a faculty mentor on that faculty member's research. Students receive the transcript notation "Georgetown Undergraduate Research Assistant" for their work.  Participating students are also eligible to compete for a Summer Research Fellowship.

Zukowski-Kolleng Undergraduate Research Scholarship

In support of our departmental mission to enhance the undergraduate biology experience through research, the Biology Department is pleased to offer two undergraduate research fellowships:

  • The Zukowski Fellowship, which has been made possible through generous gift from Dr. Mark M. Zukowski, a 1971 graduate of the Biology Department at Georgetown University.
  • The Kolleng Fellowship, which has been made possible through a generous gift from Mr. John Kolleng, a 1977 graduate of the Biology Department at Georgetown.

Both Fellowships are open to Biology majors who are currently in their sophomore, junior and senior years and will provide a research award of $2,500 and up to a $1,000 living allowance.

Grant- or Fellowship-funded Research

Students may be able to obtain funding to support summer research through several funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and many research societies.  See your research mentor to discuss specific programs.

2016 Amgen Scholars Program at Harvard University
Harvard University is one of ten U.S. institutions that again will be offering a ten-week Amgen Scholars Program in the summer of 2016.  The Harvard-Amgen program, with an emphasis on biotechnology research, affords a diverse cohort of rising undergraduate juniors and seniors the opportunity to work in laboratories of faculty across the Harvard universe, including the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. In addition to an engaging, formative research experience, Harvard-Amgen Scholars will live among the 400 undergraduates residents of the Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Village community in one of the historic Houses along the Charles River. 

 The deadline to submit completed applications is Monday, February 1, 2016.  More information about the Harvard-Amgen Scholars Program, including profiles of last year’s cohort, along with eligibility criteria and instructions to apply may be found here:  http://uraf.harvard.edu/amgen-scholars.  The Amgen Scholars Program website, which includes information about all of the U.S. and international programs available this coming summer may be found here: www.amgenscholars.com.

Undergrad scientists looking for summer research opportunity may want to check out the Amgen Scholars.     

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gregory A. Llacer directly at gllacer@fas.harvard.edu.  

Diversity Initiative staff at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard!

The Broad Institute is a nonprofit biomedical research institute and a leader in genomic science. The Diversity Initiative is dedicated to transforming young students' lives through innovative, high-impact research opportunities.
Application for undergraduate summer research program, the Summer Research Program in Genomics (SRPG), is now available online.

There is an exciting new postbac program, Broad Cancer Genomics Scholars (BCGS), for graduating seniors and recent college graduates. The application for BCGS is also online and can be found here.
The application deadline for both programs is Monday, February 1, 2016.

Funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, SRPG and BCGS are designed to help increase diversity in the sciences. Students from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences are encouraged to apply.

SRPG is a paid, nine-week research experience for students with a strong interest in biomedical research. Students spend the summer performing original wet-lab or computational research in areas ranging from cancer to infectious disease to chemical biology. The program has a strong record of success in nurturing students' passion for research and preparing them to succeed in graduate school and scientific careers.

BCGS is a two-year, salaried postbac opportunity run jointly by the Diversity Initiative and the Broad's Cancer Program. The program is designed to position participants competitively for top graduate programs, with an immersive experience of groundbreaking research, career guidance, and advanced skills in scientific communication.

Take a look at program fliers:  Broad Cancer Genomics Scholars and Summer Research In Genomics

[Saber11] Undergraduate biology education REU site at UGA

UBER is a nine-week, NSF-funded program to involve undergraduates in designing and conducting research on undergraduate biology teaching and learning with mentorship from faculty in UGA's Division of Biological Sciences and College of Education.

Details can be found on the website: http://uber.coe.uga.edu

Program dates: May 23 ­- July 23, 2016
Students will be paid a stipend of $4500 and receive a $500 food stipend
Housing will be provided in UGA dormitories at no cost
Travel assistance to UGA is available up to $500 per student
Application deadline: February 26, 2016

The Biology Undergraduate Research Presentation Awards

The Biology Undergraduate Research Presentation Awards
(and, therefore, the inelegant acronym of … BURPAS!)

The Biology Department has created a funding mechanism to augment the PURPAS funding recently piloted by the Office of the Provost. PURPAS provides funding to defray the costs incurred by undergraduate student researchers who travel to present their research at conferences and other scholarly venues beyond the Georgetown campus.

Due to our restricted funds and the desire to provide this opportunity to as many students as possible, the BURPAS awards will fund up to $250 per student.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Only students who are majors in the Biology Department (Biology, Biology of Global Health, Environmental Biology, Neurobiology) may apply.
  • Students are limited to one award during their time at Georgetown.
  • Funding is limited to students who are presenting (poster or talk) at the conference.
  • Students must also apply to PURPAS: https://provost.georgetown.edu/PURPAS

Application materials:

  • Complete the online application form: http://goo.gl/forms/d8ApOFe9K3
  • Your research mentor must send a letter of recommendation to Prof. Elmendorf (hge@georgetown.edu) that details your involvement in your research project, the reason for your travel to present your research, and the availability of money from the laboratory to support the cost of conference participation.

Deadlines: We will consider applications on a rolling basis throughout the academic year and summer. We recognize that student travel may be contingent on earning funds to defray costs and want to be able to respond in a timely manner to meet the many external conference registration deadlines.

Contact: Prof. Heidi Elmendorf (hge@georgetown.edu)