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. 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. 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. 

Research Tutorial

Students who are interested in conducting research in biology and/or starting their RISE (Research Intensive 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. 

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.

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)