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Undergraduate Research

biology department

Matthew Evans '15

The undergraduate program in Biology emphasizes the fundamental importance of research in advancing knowledge in the life sciences.

Undergraduate students have multiple opportunities to become involved in research for either course credit or enrichment and these options are highlighted below.

Undergraduate Research Contract Form

Option 1: Research Opportunities with BC Faculty Members

Students may work directly with a faculty member in BC laboratories on a range of research projects, many of which are supported by grants from federal agencies or private research foundations. Undergraduate research projects require significant commitment from both students and faculty. Students can receive course credit for their research by enrolling in a series of three credit research courses.

In order to apply for one of these positions, students are urged to contact individual faculty members who are conducting research in their areas of interest. View listing of faculty members. Before applying, students are urged to investigate the research of faculty members by looking at the papers that faculty have recently published.

In almost all cases, students enroll in these research courses for at least two semesters. During their senior year, students are expected to write a thesis describing their research results.

Students who perform Undergraduate Research will also participate in the Biology Department's annual Undergraduate Research Day, which is held in May of each academic year.


Option 2: Advanced Lab Courses

The Boston College Biology Department sponsors several advanced laboratory courses that provide a means by which students can become engaged in original research activities.

Students in these classes focus on a specific research theme and work together to develop a research proposal and design experiments to test their hypotheses. The ultimate goal of these classes is to publish student results in a research publication. These classes have a limited enrollment of 12 students or less. With the help of funding from the National Science Foundation, these classes have been designed to give students an experience similar to that of a research lab.

These courses include:

  • BIOL 4810  Research in Molecular Microbiology Lab
  • BIOL 4820  Research in Cell Biology Lab
  • BIOL 4830  Research in Molecular Biology Lab
  • BIOL 4840  Research in Biochemistry Lab
  • BIOL 4850  Research in Neuroscience Lab
  • BIOL 4860  Methods in Community Ecology Lab
  • BIOL 4870  Research in Molecular Genetics Lab
  • BIOL 5450  Advanced Lab in Cellular Imaging


Option 3: Off-Campus Research

Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the many research opportunities that are available off-campus in biomedical institutions around the Boston area.

Students conducting research off-campus may be eligible to receive course credit for their research by finding a BC faculty member to act as a co-mentor with the director of the off-campus laboratory. Further information about off-campus research opportunities is made available to biology majors by contacting Megan Barry, the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Program in the Biology Office, Higgins 355.