The Undergraduate Research in Biology and Honors Research in Biology programs allow students to receive credit for research in either a Biology Department faculty member’s lab or in any university-affiliated lab in the Boston area. Students are not expected to be technicians or laboratory assistants, but rather semi-independent, intellectual contributors to a research project. Students cannot receive academic credit and funding (e.g., UROP) in the same semester.
Finding a research position can take some time. You can contact Biology faculty whose research interests you, talk with any Teaching Fellows you’ve had in your biology/chemistry classes, talk to your peers about how they got their research positions, read the Weekly Pulse for listed opportunities, or find faculty research projects posted on the UROP website. When contacting a faculty member, you can include information such as your resume, transcript, your reasons for wanting to work with them, and any research or educational background that you feel would make you a good addition to their lab.
Please note: If you will be conducting research in a lab at BU, you are required to have signed BU’s Intellectual Property Policy. If you will be working with human subjects, CITI training and IRB approval are required beforehand. If you will be conducting research with vertebrate animals IACUC training and approval is required beforehand.
Undergraduate Research in Biology: First year students through seniors
Honors Research in Biology: Seniors with a 3.5+ GPA
Undergraduate Research in Biology
Courses & Credits:
First Year BI 140/141 (2 credits)
Sophomore BI 240/241 (2 credits)
Junior BI 340/341 (2 credits), BI 350/351/352 (4 credits)
Senior BI 450/451/452/453 (4 credits)
Note: Up to two 4-credit courses may be counted as major electives and one of those may count toward the three-lab requirement. Students do not need to take two consecutive semesters of research (e.g., students can take BI 350 and BI 451).
During fall or spring semester, students are expected to conduct research for 3-4 hours/week per credit. During the summer 1 or summer 2 session, students are expected to work 6-8 hours/week per credit. This time can include other research-related work like attending group lab meetings.
Please note: if you are conducting research outside the Biology Department, you will also need to ask a Biology faculty member to sponsor you (i.e., they will act as a liaison between the Biology Department and the outside researcher). Your sponsor should be familiar with the field of research in which you will be engaged or another faculty member with whom you have a good relationship. Both your research mentor and Biology faculty sponsor must approve your application.
Applications are due by the date listed at the top of the Undergraduate Research application. Students must be participating in research during the semester(s) of application and thus cannot apply for Undergraduate Research for previously conducted research.
Honors Research in Biology
The Honors Research in Biology Program provides students with an opportunity to work closely with faculty who serve as intellectual and technical mentors in students’ exploration of biological research. Honors students also participate in a 2-credit research seminar, which provides exposure to a broad range of current science in the Biology research community. The Honors Program culminates in a written senior thesis defended before a faculty committee.
1) Senior standing
2) Overall GPA of > 3.5
3) Approval of the Honors Program application by the Biology Department’s Research & Honors Committee.
Please note that you can submit your Honors application online. In the form you’ll note that you have senior standing and are applying for BI 401 or BI 402. The form will prompt you to include your unofficial transcript and Honors research proposal.
Applications are due by the date listed at the top of the Undergraduate Research application.
Please see the Honors Thesis document for formatting and content instructions.
If your research is outside the Biology Department, you need to have a Biology faculty member sponsor your Honors research. Additionally, your outside mentor needs to write a recommendation letter to the Biology Department which they can upload to the online approval form.
Guidelines and Expectations for Students and Mentors participating in Research Courses
Guidelines and expectations for students and mentors are included in syllabi for each research course below. Please note that beyond the time commitment, there are no additional requirements for 100 and 200-level (first year and sophomore) research courses.
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 340: Junior Research in Biology 1 (2 credits)
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 341: Junior Research in Biology 2 (2 credits)
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 350/450: Junior/Senior Research in Biology 1 (4 credits)
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 351/451: Junior/Senior Research in Biology 2 (4 credits)
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 352/452: Junior/Senior Research in Biology 3
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 453: Senior Research in Biology 4
- Guidelines/Expectations for BI 401/402: Honors Research in Biology