Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Biology
This page provides information on:
- Where to find information on existing research internship opportunities
- Where to find funding for an unpaid internship opportunity
- Research internship opportunities - examples, many of which K students have participated in
- A sampling of post-graduation employment listing sites
1. Where to find information on research internship opportunities:
- Talk to faculty about possible research opportunities at Kalamazoo College. Faculty typically take on research students during the summer or may have suggestions of places to contact
- Contact researchers and institutions directly: Perhaps you know of a lab or project that is doing the type of research that you are particularly interested in, or you are fixed on the idea of being in a particular geographic location and want to look for something in that area. Initiative on your part is likely to be viewed positively so don't be shy about contacting the lab or project coordinator directly to express your interest in working with them.
- Dow bulletin board: Postings received from a variety of institutions are displayed on 3rd Floor bulletin boards of Dow Science Center
- Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD): Kalamazoo College students may search for internship and externship opportunities through the CCPD web site. Information on funding for student-identified summer opportunities is also available through the CCPD site
- National Science Foundation - Research Experiences for Undergraduates. This sites contains a list of participating universities and other research institutions that currently have REU programs. Contact individual institutions for program information and applications.
- American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: contains an extensive listing of summer internship programs, organized by state.
- Rochester Institute of Technology: VERY extensive listing of biology & biotechnology paid internship opportunities - all areas of biology.
- Internship Opportunities for Minority & Underrepresented Students: from Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Surf the web for additional databases and postings by specific programs. Search words such as <summer internship research biology> is a good way to start.
NOTE: When applying for internships, there are usually a number of documents that you must assemble. These vary with the specific program to which you apply, but generally include:
- an application form with biographical information, educational background and interests.
- resume showing educational background and work experience
- a written statement of research interests, career plans and goals (including why the program you are applying to would help you meet these goals)
- an official copy of your undergraduate transcript
- letters of reference (professors, employers, others)
Keep in mind that the registrar's office and faculty members need advance notice to prepare transcripts and letters of recommendations. Plan accordingly.
Visit the Center for Career and Professional Development (Dewing Hall- first floor) for assistance with resume writing, cover letter writing, and interviewing for a job.
If you have identified a research opportunity at Kalamazoo College or another institution, but the position is unpaid, you may apply for funding through various sources at Kalamazoo College:
- Diebold/Batts Research Fellowships: These fellowships are open to any Biology major and provide support for SIP research in biology. Awards are based on the strength of the proposed research and financial need. The number of awards granted each year will vary depending available funds from the Diebold endowment, number of eligible students and their individual needs. Priority is given to those projects carried out in conjunction with faculty members of the Kalamazoo College Biology Department. See the Biology Department SIP page for application details. Application deadline: Friday of 7th week of spring quarter to the Biology Department Chair.
Center for Career & Professional Development: The Field Experience Program (FEP) offers structure and CCPD staff support to students engaged in summer internships of at least six weeks in duration. Included under the FEP umbrella are four types of internships: K-Internships, Community Building Internships, Arcus Center Internships, and Independent Internships. FEP internships include a learning contract, regular structured reflection, a final reflective assignment and evaluation, and ongoing staff support. Completed FEP internships are noted on students’ official academic transcripts.
To apply for a stipend for an unpaid independent internship, a student enrolls in the Field Experience Programby the Friday of fifth week, spring quarter. Grantees will be selected and confirmed by the Friday of seventh week, spring quarter. The application process, sliding scale, and disbursement of grants will be coordinated through the CCPD; all questions and inquiries should be directed to email@example.com
- Center for International Programs (CIP): The CIP has fellowship programs designed to help defray the costs of a Senior Individualized Project or other College-related activity in an international location. Sources of funding for international work include: The Beeler Fellowship, The Beeler Project Grant, and The Collins Fellowship. See the link under Funding Study Abroad for more information. Application deadline is typically mid-April.
(NOTE: deadline dates are approximate - check current posting for exact date)
|Approx. Deadline||Sponsor / Internship||Location|
|early December||National Center for Environmental Protection (NCEP), Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) program offers undergraduate fellowships for bachelor level students in environmental fields of study. Fellows will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years.||home institution during academic year, EPA facility during summer internship|
|application information not yet available. Will be posted on SURE web site Jan. 29, 2011||Ohio State University, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) in the Plant Sciences. 10-week internship to explore the world of plant molecular biology/biotechnology. Includes investigations at the molecular, cellular, organismal, ecological, and environmental levels. Available research projects focus on many areas including plant molecular biology, molecular plant-microbe interactions, plant metabolic engineering, plant genomics, photosynthesis biochemistry, and chemical ecology.||OH, Wooster and Columbus|
|not specified; early applications recommended||Marine Biological Laboratory Semester Internship Program. This is a one-semester program that can take place during the spring, summer, or fall semester of college. The program is also open to recent college graduates looking for a one-semester, six- month, or one-year program prior to graduate school. Interns will gain hands-on experience in aquatic animal care, husbandry, and culture. Qualifying interns will learn new scientific methods and theory by participating in research being conducted by one of the MRC's scientists. Detailed descriptions of current research projects are linked through the MBL web site||MA, Woods Hole|
|January||University of Michigan - Program in Biomedical Sciences. Summer undergraduate research experiences offer students the opportunity to participate in projects with mentors. Below is a sampling of Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities (go to individual links below for specific program application information and deadlines)
||MI, Ann Arbor|
|varies with program||Cancer Research Internship Opportunities compiled by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: lists cancer research internships and other training programs for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, MPH, and Ph.D. students interested in pursuing a career in research and/or medicine (PDF)||varies with program|
|Jan 14||Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Summer Undergraduate Research Program [SURP] is an intensive, nine-week internship designed to provide research experience and mentorship for undergraduate students who are interested in biological research. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students will complete an independent research project and present their findings at a competitive poster session. Program dates: mid-June to mid-Aug. Areas of Research: Basic Science, Human Biology, Public Health, Clinical Research, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases||WA, Seattle|
|Jan 15 to Feb 10||Garden Club of America, scholarships and fellowships for summer research||various|
|Jan 15||UCLA, The Diversity Project, an International Integrative Undergraduate Research Program for Under-represented Minorities. Summer research in the Coral Triangle. Project locations include Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.||Indonesia|
|Jan 15||Jackson Laboratory for mammalian genetic research. Summer Student Program: under the guidance of a mentor, students develop an independent research project, implement their plan, analyze the data, and report their results. At the end of the summer, students present their findings to researchers, peers, and parents.||ME, Bar Harbor|
|Jan 15||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Undergraduate Research Program. 10-week summer program to work with senior laboratory staff members on independent research projects, specifically in areas of: Cancer Biology, Neuroscience, Plant Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Macromolecular Structure, Bioinformatics||NY, Cold Spring Harbor|
|Jan 31||University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center Summer Fellowship Program.||MI, Ann Arbor|
|Jan 31||Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education, Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment (URGE). This program provides funding for students and faculty advisors to conduct research at the Institute each summer. Students work with their mentor to submit a research proposal as part of the application process.||MI, Hastings|
|Jan 31||Organization for Tropical Studies, REU program in tropical biology. Designed for advanced biology students interested in conducting field research under the supervision of an experienced tropical ecologist at the La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. Program dates (mid-June to early Aug)||Costa Rica, La Selva|
|Feb 1||SETI Institute, Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Astrobiology. Students work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to planetary geology to observational astronomy.||CA, Silicon Valley|
|Feb 1||Wayne State University School of Medicine, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program in Physiology. The program is open to all students who are not already enrolled in a graduate program, and is especially directed to juniors and seniors with a 3.0 or better GPA and an interest in any aspect of physiology (cell, molecular, systems, whole animal, bacterial, reproductive physiology). Awards will be made on the basis of academic achievement, experience, and commitment to basic research.||MI, Detroit|
|Feb 1||Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Internship Program in Environmental Studies Internship projects are categorized under the different research areas of SERC research (e.g. Global Change, Landscape Ecology, Ecology of Coastal Ecosystems, Population and Community Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Education). This program is also open to recent recent college graduates. See the drop down menu under the "Internships" tab for application details.||varies with project|
|Feb 1||Harvard University, Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology. Research at the Forest focuses on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including atmospheric pollution, global warming, hurricanes, tree falls, and insect outbreaks. Students will participate in an ongoing research project. Some positions also available for recent graduates.||MA, Petersham|
|Feb 1||Princeton University Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular and Quantitative & Computational Biology. Encourages applications from research-oriented undergraduates (1) whose participation will add to the diversity of researchers in the sciences, or (2) whose interests lie at the boundary between biology and the computational sciences including physics, chemistry, computer science and engineering, or (3) who are from institutions that do not have large research programs. Program dates: mid-June to mid-Aug.||NJ, Princeton|
|Feb 1||Miami University, REU program in Ecology and Environmental Science. This program's goal is to engage undergraduate students in collaborative, multidisciplinary research that emphasizes basic ecological questions in landscapes heavily influenced by human activity. Projects include those in terrestrial as well as aquatic ecology.||OH, Oxford|
|Feb 1 (April 1 for coursework program)||Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, REU Program in field biology. Program dates: early June-mid Aug. This program is an excellent way to decide if a career in field biology is right for you. Advanced Independent Research offers intensive mountain field work and emphasizes individual research projects.||CO, Gothic|
|Feb 1||Wayne State University, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program in physiology. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide talented science students with: 1) research experience in physiology 2) a look at life as a potential graduate student at Wayne State. Twelve week full time laboratory research training.||MI, Detroit|
|Feb 1||University of Michigan Biological Station, REU Program. Program dates: mid-June through mid-August. Offers an interdisciplinary experience in scientific research in "biosphere-atmosphere studies in the changing global environment."||MI, Pellston|
|Feb 4||Frederik and Lena Meijer Student Internship Program at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI). Research programs conduct biomedical research in cellular, molecular and genetic biology with a focus on cancer and Parkinson disease and an emphasis on translating scientific research results into clinical applications.||MI, Grand Rapids|
|Feb 5||The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Translational Ecology for Undergraduates REU program Starting in 2011 (pending funding from NSF), the Cary REU program will embrace a new focus – Translational Ecology – to train a new generation of environmental scientists who are both prepared and motivated to translate ecological science to the public.||NY, Millbrook|
|Feb 12||University of Michigan Medical Scientist Training Program. Pre-MSTP Summer Biomedical Research Program. Designed for undergraduates who are potentially interested in obtaining an MD/PhD degree leading to a career in academic medicine focused on basic research relevant to human diseases. See program announcement for eligibility requirements.||MI, Ann Arbor|
|Feb 14||Duke University Marine Lab, REU Program. 10 week (early June-mid Aug) semi-independent research program with faculty mentors in the general areas of marine sensory physiology, ecology and behavior; environmental toxicology; marine genetics; coastal and estuarine processes.||NC, Beaufort|
|Feb 15 review of applications starts; March 15 deadline to apply||University of Chicago, REU Program in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. 10 week (mid June-mid Aug). This program is designed for students who are interested in attending graduate school and pursuing a career in research.||IL, Chicago|
|Feb 15||Mote Marine Laboratory, REU program in Estuarine Science. 10-week program in which students are paired with Mote scientists and develop and complete an independent research project related to their mentor’s research interests. Students attend research seminars and workshops on career skills in science, Students also have the opportunity to present their research findings at professional conferences.||FL, Sarasota|
|Feb 15||University of Wisconsin-Madison, Synchrotron Radiation Center REU Program. 10-week research program in areas related to condensed matter physics, atomic and molecular physics, nanotechnology, biosciences, or accelerator physics, you should consider applying to this program. Each project provides the opportunity for you to experience current scientific research at a modern light source facility.||WI, Madison|
|Feb 15||University of Iowa Department of Microbiology, Summer Microbiology Undergraduate Research Program. Participants conduct full-time, hands-on research in microbiology, microbial genetics, or molecular biology. Enrichment activities include weekly seminars and workshops on graduate school and career opportunities.||IA, Iowa City|
|Feb 15||Hatfield Marine Science Center of Oregon State University, REU Program . Program dates: mid June to mid August. Internships through a variety of agencies affiliated with the center across the US.||OR, Newport|
|Feb 15||Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Summer Student Fellowship Program and Minority Fellowship Program for undergraduate students who have completed their junior or senior year and are interested in the ocean sciences, oceanographic engineering, mathematics, or marine policy.||MA, Woods Hole|
|Mar 1||Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Internship Programs. The National Park Service (NPS) offers beautiful and challenging environments with internship programs intended to provide working experience to augment your degree program. Details on the internship program can be downloaded from the web site.||MI, Empire|
|Mar 1||NASA, Undergraduate Student Research Program. Various programs, including one in Biological and Physical Research that focuses on a wide spectrum of scientific research, including basic, applied, biological, physical, chemical, and biomedical, especially in areas such as molecular biology, nanotechnology, information technology, and genomics.||participating NASA centers|
|Mar 1||Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, University of Minnesota has opportunities for students to work as Research Interns in three types of positions; 1) Plant community ecology, 2) Wildlife biology, and 3) Insect diversity. Most positions run from June through August, but some interns are needed as early as March and some are needed through December. Undergraduates or a newly graduated students with a background or interest in biology, ecology, environmental science, botany, environmental education, wildlife biology, or related field are encouraged to apply.||MN, Bethel|
|Mar 1||Kansas State University and Konza Prairie Biological Station, REU program addressing Ecology and evolutionary biology of a temperate grassland organisms||KS, Manhattan|
|Mar 1||Center for Great Lakes Studies of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee REU Program. Program dates – early June to mid Aug. Provides undergraduate students with laboratory and field training in aquatic science (including lake and ocean systems) with extensive shipboard field research opportunities. The goal of this activity is to develop, through hands-on experience, future scholars to pursue Interdisciplinary research toward an understanding of the aquatic environment.||WI, Milwaukee|
|Mar 14||Western Michigan University REU Program in Environmental Signal Transduction. Program dates – early June to mid Aug.||MI, Kalamazoo|
|Feb 18||University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Summer Fellowship Program to support undergraduate students interested in summer research in physiology and/or biomedical sciences. 12-week program runs approx. June 1 – Aug 12.||MI, Ann Arbor|
|April 15||Kalamazoo College HHMI Summer Student Research Grant proposals due||at K or other institutions|
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- some undergraduate internship programs also offer internships to recent graduates; visit the sites above to determine whether they are open to recent graduates
- Environmental Careers Center: searchable web database of environmental jobs
- Environmental Careers Organization: a national, non-profit education, training and leadership development organization committed to the development of environmental professionals. ECO offers a range of internships in programs sponsored by federal, state and local government, corporations and non-profit organizations. Listing on their web site are updated frequently.
- Student Conservation Association: Expense paid internships from 3 months to 1 year. Open to students and non-students.
- US Environmental Protection Agency: internships, fellowships and student programs
Consult the Biology Department's Handbook for Juniors and Seniors for information on conducting research toward a SIP in biology.