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 beginnning 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 Instituties of Health, the National Science Foundation and many research societies.  See your research mentor to discuss specific programs.