Research Opportunities

If it’s research that interests you, Boston University offers an impressive number and range of opportunities for undergraduates. Our reputation for cutting-edge science and innovative thinking has been growing for well over a century. BU is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious partnership of top research universities in the United States and Canada, and as you read this, our students and faculty are working on hundreds of research projects with $368 million in sponsored funding.

Right now we’re studying life in space, underwater and throughout the world. We’re exploring in laboratories, libraries, theaters and the human mind. We’re investigating fuel cells that run on bacteria and a vaccine that fights cancer with cancer cells. We’re finding new ways of writing plays and answering unresolved questions about the evolution of the universe. Several current projects are spotlighted on our Research website.

You may be surprised to learn how soon you can get a foot in the laboratory door at BU. Our professors frequently have undergraduates, including freshmen, assisting them on groundbreaking projects. All you have to do is ask. Or check the list of projects seeking assistants on the UROP website.

Think of UROP as a very successful match site. It’s where BU faculty members with research projects connect with students who want to work on them.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program defines research very broadly: scientific or scholarly, producing new knowledge or better ways to solve problems, original exploration or historical interpretation. Projects range from medicine and physical sciences to Spanish literature, website development and advertising. One BU student even combined his passions for engineering and music to create a better electronic trumpet.

You can participate in the UROP program for academic credit, for a stipend or as a volunteer. All projects last at least one semester (or 10 weeks during the summer).

At the UROP Office at 143 Bay State Road, you can read about current faculty projects or get help with funding applications, research proposals and the publication of research findings. Check the UROP website for more information and a list of projects.

Maybe you have an area of special interest that isn’t covered in a UROP project. If you qualify academically, you may want to pursue a Directed Study program—an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty specialist. A Directed Study project can give you more freedom to explore while you gain valuable research skills. These projects are also well suited for internships.

Are you a marine science major? BU’s Marine Program offers you a hands-on, interdisciplinary, research-oriented curriculum in marine science through the College of Arts & Sciences. You’ll study biology, earth sciences, geography and environment and other disciplines for a deeper understanding of the processes that affect marine life. You can also get direct field experience through partnership programs in Belize, the Caribbean or, closer to home, Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts.

Here’s an opportunity to earn college credit while you travel, help solve a real-world environmental problem and develop useful technical and analytical skills.

The School for Field Studies is the country’s oldest and largest institution dedicated to undergraduate education in environmental problem-solving around the world. It’s also an affiliate of Boston University. So when you enroll as an SFS student, you’ll register at and receive credit from BU. But your classroom could be a community in Australia, Kenya, Costa Rica, Mexico or the Caribbean.

Fourteen-week, four-course semester programs include classes in ecology, resource management and either socioeconomic or applied anthropology. In a fourth course, directed research, you’ll study research design and complete an individual project.