Undergraduate Research

So Many Opportunities

Many of the students in our programs will pursue careers that do not involve conducting research. However, learning how to do research is a great skill and gives you an opportunity to put what you learn in the classroom into practice. It can also provide insight into your passions and what type of careers may be of interest to you.

Research for Credit

Included in the course offerings for biology majors and minors are special opportunities for research experience (BIOL 3994) and internships (BIOL 3996), as well as in-class participation as undergraduate teaching assistants (BIOL 3993). These opportunities are offered if you are in your junior or senior year and require approval of the academic adviser as well as prior arrangement with a sponsoring department faculty member.  You must submit an application for these courses in order to register.  Click on the program you are interested in for directions and the application form.  The Department of Biology faculty sponsor assigns a grade (S/N) for these courses.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Our department is excited to participate in this University of Minnesota program which offers financial awards to full-time undergraduates for research, scholarly, or creative projects undertaken in partnership with a faculty member.

This is a great chance to get a unique educational experience collaborating with a faculty mentor on the design and implementation of a project.

A stipend of $1,400 is available as salary for actual time spent working on a project and an expense allowance is also available for supplies and expenses required by the project.

To apply for a UROP you must be a full-time UMD undergraduate enrolled in a baccalaureate or pre-baccalaureate degree program. Additionally you must be in good academic standing as defined by your college. Individuals on academic probation are not eligible. Adult special students are not eligible.

For more information about the program, deadlines, and application procedures check out the UROP website.

Sample projects

The following represent a small sample of student UPROP projects that have been pursued and subsequently presented:

"Assessing the Effect of Climate Change on Surface Waves Regarding Siscowet Lake Trout Feeding Habits in Lae Superior"

"Variation in Cyanide Production across a Steep Environmental Gradient"

“Does vessel capacity influence leaf out time in woody species?"

“The Effects of FGF Signaling on Anterior Neurulation in Zebrafish"

“Site Affinity of Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) Exposed to Broadband Sound in the Duluth-Superior Harbor"

Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST)

Click here to submit the application

To donate to the BURST program

The Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST) fellowship program is designed to give qualified UMD Biology/Cell & Molecular Biology majors the opportunity to take part in an in-depth summer research project. For students interested in pursuing further education once they attain their bachelor’s degree, this is an excellent opportunity to experience what in-depth research outside the classroom is like. The BURST program is intended to be an intensive research experience for students who already have some less intensive experience (e.g. UROP, lab volunteering, etc.).

The BURST program runs for ten weeks from Late May to early August.  Fellows are expected to work full-time during that period. Due to the nature of biological research, this may on occasion involve working in the evening or on weekends. Fellows are expected to be willing to make reasonable accommodations in this regard as required for their specific research projects. The BURST program will end with a poster session in early August at which fellows will present their research to other BURST fellows, members of the UMD Biology Department, and donors who have contributed to funding the BURST program. In addition, it is expected that many BURST research projects will lead to peer-reviewed publications in which the BURST fellow will be a co-author. This may involve additional participation beyond the ten-week summer period for data analysis and manuscript preparation. All BURST fellows will be appropriately recognized for their contributions to research that leads to a peer-reviewed publication.

BURST fellows will receive a stipend of $4,300 for their ten-week fellowship period. They will receive an additional $700 for research expenses. Any additional research expenses will be the responsibility of the faculty mentor.

BURST applicants are required to have contacted a potential faculty mentor prior to submitting their application in order to discuss potential research projects. As part of the application, the potential faculty mentor is required to provide a letter of recommendation to the BURST Fellowship Committee. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact their potential faculty mentor and request a letter at least 2-3 weeks before the application deadline of February 26,2021.  Applicants will be notified in early March if they will be offered a BURST fellowship, and will be expected to accept or decline the fellowship within one week.


To receive a BURST fellowship, you must:

1) Be a registered Biology major at UMD;

 2) Have a 3.0 or better GPA in Biology courses;

3) Plan on registering full-time for the Fall semester of the 2021-2022 academic year; and

4) Be willing to commit at least 40 hours per week for ten weeks in summer 2021 to your BURST research project


THE BURST Fellowship Committee will select recipients on the following basis:

1) BURST application form;

2) A copy of your unofficial transcript (emailed directly to [email protected]);

3) A letter of recommendation from your potential faculty mentor (emailed directly to [email protected]),

4) A ~200 word essay that focuses on your past research experience and future plans in Biology.

5) A ~500 word essay that focuses on your proposed research project, including the question you’ll address and the methods you’ll use to address it.

Fellowships will be awarded based on the quality of the student essay, faculty recommendation letter and student's Biology GPA.

For questions, please contact the Department of Biology Office at [email protected] The BURST Fellowship Committee and UMD Department of Biology reserve the right to not award a fellowship if no applicant is deemed as meeting established criteria.

Click to submit an application

2020 BURST projects:

Sam Hise - "Determining the Viability of Methanogenic Pathways as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cardiovascular Disease: A Phylogenetic Comparison of Three Human-Associated Archaea Using Metagenomic Data"

Samantha Ykema - "Influence of a changing Minnesota Climate on Past Phenology and Future Success of Coastal and Non-Coastal Northern Red Oak"

Andi Zuelke - "Conservation of Unique RNA Processing Pathways in the Single Mitochondrion of a Group of Protists”