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Undergraduate Research in Biology

Hand working on beakers

Students are encouraged to do undergraduate research if they plan on being a research scientist (going on for a Ph.D. or M.D./PhD.), plan on working in a research laboratory with a Bachelor of Science degree, or plan on attending medical school.

The prime time to begin research is typically semester 4 or 5. Beginning in semester 6 is also reasonable, particularly if students plan to stay at Purdue in the summer. Some students may wish to begin sooner, particularly, if they know that they want a research career. Beginning in semester 7 is generally too late to do a project, but one may learn a great deal about research by sitting in on the activities of a research laboratory.

Students will need to decide whether to begin with Undergraduate Research (BIOL 294 or 494), Undergraduate Honors Research (BIOL 499), or a Summer Research Internship.

Undergraduate Research for Academic Credit

Students who begin with Undergraduate Research or Undergraduate Honors Research can easily transfer between programs. Students will need to decide on a research mentor, meet individually with that mentor and if an agreement is reached, discuss with their Biology advisor how to access the Biology Research Credit Application. The Biology Advising Office maintains a listing of "Mentors for Undergraduate Research" which provides the names, locations and general research areas and titles for individuals in the Department of Biological Sciences and in other Departments on the Purdue campus.  Note: this document is currently dated, but provides examples of research labs across campus that students have joined in the past.  Students may work with any research mentor regardless of position or department at Purdue University. A more detailed description of research by individual faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences may be found on the Faculty Directory at our website.

Honors Research requires

  • Completion of an undergraduate research thesis that has been countersigned and approved by the research mentor and the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences,
  • Minimum graduating GPA of 3.0,
  • Enrollment in BIOL 497 "Biology Honors Seminar" during the junior and senior year,
  • Presentation of the research progress in BIOL 497 and participation in two poster symposia

** Students who complete Undergraduate Honors Research will have the notation on their transcript "Completed Biology Honors Research Program" and their name will be highlighted in the program booklet at graduation.


Summer Research Internships

Several industries and universities from throughout Indiana and the United States contact us each year with summer research internship opportunities at their respective locations.  Students in our program may watch their e-mail newsletters for information and/or ask their academic advisor.

Contact the Biology Counseling Office (49-44747, LILY 1-412) for further information.

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