Research Opportunities

student working in a labStudents can get great research experience while in the undergraduate program. The Biology and Ecology faculty provide opportunities for students to conduct research in laboratory and field settings through courses such as BIO 387/388 (Undergraduate Research in Biology) and HON 490 (Honors Thesis). Independent-research opportunities also exist within certain upper-level courses such as BIO 450 (Histology), BIO 454 (Invertebrate Functional Morphology), and BIO 475 (Field Marine Ecology). All of these research experiences can be used for credit toward the Capstone Experience, which is one of the General Education Requirements.

Literature-based research, in the form of an independent-reading project under the direction of a faculty member, is also possible and can also satisfy the requirement for a Capstone Experience. This can be done through BIO 391/392 (Independent Study in Biology) or BIO 402 (Capstone Experience).

There are also research employment opportunities such as student lab and field assistants.  Students who do undergraduate research often develop useful skills, get ideas about careers, and have something significant to add to their resumes.

student working in the fieldFaculty in SBE advertise opportunities for student research on the CUGR site (Center for Undergraduate Research), through Student Employment, and job postings. Students who have an interest in the topics of a class they may have had with a faculty member are encouraged to contact them to explore possibilities. Interest in research projects that faculty describe in their web pages may lead to opportunities for student research. Faculty are willing to discuss these opportunities.

In the list below, some faculty members have provided information on projects or activities for potential undergraduate students.

Faculty with Research Opportunities for Undergraduates


 Andrei Alyokhin
Interested students are welcome to participate in laboratory and field studies on insect behavior and ecology. For more information, please visit our laboratory website.

Rebecca Holberton
Interested students are welcome to participate in laboratory and field studies on bird behavior and physiology.

Brian Olsen
Volunteers are needed to help sample insects and conduct bird point counts near Amherst, Maine. The field crew will visit the site in early mornings once a week from May until July to investigate the effects of acid rain on breeding songbirds. No previous field experience is necessary, but applicants with interest in the outdoors and the ability to hike over fairly steep terrain are encouraged. This is a great, low-time investment position for an aspiring field researcher to gain training in bird song and other field methods necessary for procuring paid positions. If you are interested please contact Dr. Brian Olsen at or on first class.

Other faculty It is important to note that this list is not entirely comprehensive, but only an example of those faculty members actively seeking undergraduates. Several other faculty also welcome undergraduate students. See the descriptions of faculty research on the list of faculty and contact individual faculty members to talk about possible research projects.