Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates of all levels can conduct research. Working in the lab helps you learn the fundamentals of research while also earning academic credit. Plus, the skills and techniques you learn could lead to post-graduation employment.

Research Benefits

Research experience is a valuable part of your education because you:

  • Learn by doing (and it's fun!)
  • Develop skills such as study design, data collection, computation, analysis of findings and communicating results
  • Create tangible outcomes and examples of your work, such as research abstracts, conference presentations and manuscripts grounded in real-world experience
  • Participate in career opportunities like professional networking and resume building
  • Develop positive attitudes, habits and intentions, including research ethics, perseverance and professionalism

In addition, undergraduate researchers at VCU frequently present their research at VCU, regional and national research meetings. Some VCU undergraduates have even been recognized by authorship on peer-reviewed scientific papers. VCU also offers the NIH-funded Maximizing Access to Research Careers program which biology students are eligible to apply for.

Students studying biology at VCU can take advantage of many programmatic opportunities and class-based opportunities for academic credit, such as BIOL/Z 395 Directed Study, BIOL 492 Independent Study, or BIOL 495 Research and Thesis.

Plus, many institutions around the country (and even abroad) offer research programs during the summer, and we encourage students to apply for these opportunities.

Finding Opportunities

VCU is proud to host an impressive array of research opportunities for undergraduate students. In addition to working with faculty members in the Department of Biology, majors can choose to engage in research anywhere at VCU, including the schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing, with the Center for Environmental Studies, or at the VCU Rice Rivers Field Station. Plus, students can find research opportunities posted on our department's Facebook page.

Learn more about how biology students can find research experiences by connecting with faculty or visiting the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program site.