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College of Sciences

Department of Biological Sciences

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Biology majors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to gain research experience at the undergraduate level.  Biology department faculty include world-class researchers who are involved in cutting-edge research initiatives that are interesting, thought-provoking and provide solutions to real-world problems; many of our faculty are seeking to mentor outstanding undergraduate students who are interested in gaining research experience.  Participation in research provides the opportunity to learn the skills that are sought after by both employers and graduate programs and can give you an important competitive advantage for your future career. 

Academic Credit for Research

As a Biology major you have the opportunity to earn academic credit for undergraduate research completed under the direction of a faculty mentor.  Get to know your faculty members and ask about the research projects they are currently working on to see if they are looking for undergraduate research assistants.  This is the best way to find a faculty member willing to mentor your research project.      

 You may complete any of the following courses to earn credit for Undergraduate Research:

BIOL 369. Practicum. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: BIOL 115N-116N, acceptance as a declared major, junior class status, and approval by the CDA. A supervised experience in a research, teaching, or work/field setting, and culminating in the preparation of a written document relevant to the practicum experience. Unstructured course. (qualifies as a CAP experience)

Contact Erin Mills with the CMC for more information

BIOL 487/488W. Honors Research in Biology. 487 is prerequisite to 488. 4 credits eachsemester. Prerequisites: admission to the HonorsProgram and senior standing. Independent study and scheduled meetings with faculty advisor. The work in this course results in the production of a thesis. (qualifies as a CAP experience) (488W is a writing intensive course.)

Contact Dr. Deborah Waller for information on the Biological Sciences Honors Research Program

BIOL 497. Undergraduate Research. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: BIOL 115N/116N, junior standing, permission of instructor, permission of CDA. Student performs lab and/or field research under supervision of ODU faculty or other approved professional. Requires a minimum of 3 hours per week or equivalent for 1 credit, completion of lab/field notes and written report and evaluation by supervisor. May qualify as lab experience (see CDA). (qualifies as a CAP experience).

BIOL 497 Approval Form

Contact Dr. Doug Mills for more information. 

Undergraduate Research Program

The Undergraduate Research Program, which is supported by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Honors College, is designed to promote, support and fund the involvement of undergraduate students in the active research community.  The Undergraduate Research Program's website provides students with a list of research opportunities by major.  Many of the research opportunities posted are geared toward Biology majors.

The Undergraduate Research Program also sponsors the university-wide research grant program which provides qualified students research grants that allow them to pursue original research, scholarship, or creative work under the mentorship of a full-time faculty member. This program is open to all juniors and seniors with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 and provides a $1500 stipend for one semester. 

RUMS: Research for Undergraduates in Math and Science

RUMS is an intensive 2 yr. research experience for undergraduates at the interface between math and biology.  Students accepted into the program will become part of an ODU research laboratory and learn laboratory skills, design experiments, write grants, and present and publish their own work.  This program provides a valuable opportunity to get real-world experience in a research laboratory, work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary math/biology project involving diseases of wildlife, and earn a small stipend.  Visit their website for more information or to apply: