Section Navigation: Biology Department
Section Navigation: Biology Research Semester
Seeking Future Researchers
The Undergraduate Research Semester allows students to get involved and immersed in ongoing scientific research at Mason. Participants work side by side with researchers, developing one-on-one connections with distinguished faculty & peers in their field, fostering critical thinking and analytical skills through hands-on
learning, and defining academic, career, and personal interests.
What does a Research Semester Student do?
As a research semester student, you will work one-on-one with a GMU research faculty member while earning 12-15 upper division BIOL credit hours toward your degree through a combination of:
- BIOL 499: Research in Biology (9 credits),
- BIOL 498: Research Seminar (2 credits) and
- BIOL 314: Introduction to Research Design and Analysis (4 credits).
In addition to these required classes, students are expected to devote a minimum of 18-27 hours (per week) to their research projects.
Each student will present their research at the Biology Departments Celebrating Undergraduate Scholarship in addition to appropriate regional or national scientific meetings.
What are the Benefits of the Research Semester?
- Students will be immersed in a full-time research project while earning 12-15 credits toward their degree requirements.
- Students will have the chance to network with distinguished research faculty and research labs in their area of interest.
- Students will have the opportunity to present their research in public and/or at a regional or national scientific meeting.
- Students will have funding to support their research from the College of Science and/or the Students as Scholars program.
Will this help me with postgraduate opportunities?
Graduates have reported that the Research Semester provided invaluable experience and enhanced their chances of:
- Postgraduate employment – by gaining valuable experience and techniques
- Admission to an MS or Ph.D. program
- Admission to a health-related professional program (Dental programs, Medical School, etc.).
How do I apply?
To qualify you must:
- Have a declared Major in the College of Science (Neuroscience majors may be accepted).
- Have a 3.0 GPA in your science courses.
- Have successfully completed, at a minimum, BIOL 213, 214, CHEM 211-212 and at least one of the following: BIOL 300, 308, or 311. (Courses should be completed by the beginning of the fall semester).
- Review the List of Research Projects and Faculty Mentors (located at the bottom of the page under Application) which contains project titles, descriptions and faculty mentor contact details.
- Opportunities are also available at QUEST Diagnostics in Chantilly, VA.This experience will center on assay validation and/or improvement. The specifics will depend on the student’s abilities. To apply: Students should identify Quest in one of their project selections. For more information contact , contact our BIOL Research email.
- Opportunities are also available at ATCC in Manassas, VA. This experience will be varied. To apply: Students should identify ATCC in one of their project selections. For more information, contact our BIOL Research email.
- Complete the online application form (embedded below) and click Submit.
Is there a deadline for the application?
Applications typically open early in the Spring Semester. Due the highly competitive nature of this opportunity, we encourage applicants to apply early, preferably before the end of March is recommended.
Please check below for information about the current year's research semester opportunity.
Are there award/scholarship opportunities?
Research Semester students have the opportunity to receive awards at the Biology Research Celebration, which occurs in late November/early December. More information is below.
Check out the Biology Research Semester Info Session
Biology Research Celebration
At the end of the semester, the Biology Department holds the annual Biology Research Semester Celebration. Research Semester participants present their research findings at A panel of faculty and researchers judge participant's projects on specific criteria. The projects that best fulfill the criteria are presented awards and prizes at the end of the event and are invited to the Biology Award Celebration at the end of the Spring Semester.
Applications for Fall 2024
Due to the highly competitive nature of this opportunity, we highly recommend applying early. The priority deadline is April 3rd.
- It will be the students' responsibility to visit one or more research laboratories before the application deadline to familiarize themselves with the research being conducted and the skills necessary to research in that lab.
- It will also be useful for students to volunteer in a lab before the Fall semester.
- If you need help or have questions regarding your application, please email Dr. Arndt Laemmerzahland title your email with the subject "Fall Research Semester."
- Please also check the Department of Biology Associated Faculty page to learn more about the faculty mentors.
List of Research Projects and Faculty Mentors (subject to change)
- For further information, please contact Shakiba Salehian (please write Fall Research Semester in the subject line).