Student Research

All Biology majors, regardless of concentration are required to design, implement and report on an independent research project. This project is a capstone event, usually done in an area of interest to the student, under the supervision of a faculty member. Projects are done over the course of two semesters (see Methods course descriptions below), usually started in the spring of the junior year and completed in the fall of the senior year. Projects may be done in collaboration with off-campus research institutions, facilities, or organizations (see links below).

The final projects are presented at the annual Biology Student Research Conference held in December. Each year one student presenter is awarded the Thornton Award in memory of Shaun Thornton, a Biology major who died in a motorcycle accident in 1993. The award is given to the presenter who gives the best oral and/or poster presentation.  Thornton Award winners, past and present, are included in the Research Conference abstracts.


BIOL 406 Methods in Biological Research I
Designed to develop a working appreciation of methods of scientific inquiry through development of an original research proposal. Topics included are: problem definition, literature survey, resource bibliography, and research design, including proposed data analysis. Normally taken in the spring term of the junior year, this course is open only to Biology majors.
Prerequisite: MATH 208 Biostatistics, CHEM 108 Principles of Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis or equivalent, at least four biology courses at the 200-level or above, and a minimum cumulative QPA of 1.70 in all Biology courses.

BIOL 407 Methods in Biological Research II
A continuation of BIOL 406 Methods in Biological Research I in which the students implement their research design under the supervision of a Department faculty member. The research may be conducted off-campus with approval of course coordinator. Open only to Biology majors.
Prerequisite: Completion of BIOL 406 Methods in Biological Research I with a minimum grade of C- (1.70) or better.

Off-Campus Research Opportunities

The International Organization of Biological Field Stations

The Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole

The National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The New England Aquarium

The New England Wildflower Society

The Organization of Biological Field Stations

The School for Field Studies

The Sea Education Association's Semester at Sea

The Space Life Sciences Training Program at NASA's Ames Research Center

The Student Conservation Association