Undergraduates can gain research experience through faculty labs and independent study. These experiences can be the high point of your college experience. They can also help prepare you to apply to graduate programs and secure your first job after graduation.

Research Labs

The University of Connecticut is a top public research institution and classified as a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Foundation.

Biology faculty at UConn are nationally recognized scholars who work on the cutting edge of their fields. Many of them accept undergraduate students into their research programs. Biology students in all majors also can take part in independent study courses individually arranged with departmental faculty.

Undergraduates interested in research are encouraged to contact their professors to ask about opportunities as early as possible in their undergraduate careers.

Department Faculty and Resources

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

View the EEB research faculty directory for a list of professors and their interests.

Undergraduate Research Information by Specialty Area

Department of Physiology and Neurobiology

Funding and Support

Internal Research Opportunities

UConn offers a variety of programs that support undergraduate researchers. In most cases, students gain funding for their work and are guided by faculty mentors. They also get practice presenting their research through events on campus and at conferences across the country.

Below are some selected examples. View more UConn undergraduate research funding opportunities on the Office of Undergraduate Research's website.

Beckman Scholars Program

Open to: All biology majors

The Beckman Scholars Program supports outstanding undergraduate student researchers in biology and chemistry. This highly-selective program offers students an opportunity to pursue a 15-month independent research project under the guidance of an approved faculty mentor. Students earn a stipend that supports their research, supplies, and travel.

Offered through: Department of Physiology and Neurobiology

Health Research Program

Open to: Biology majors interested in careers in health and biomedical sciences

The Health Research Program offers a pathway for undergraduate students to take part in cutting-edge research at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The Health Research Program includes a combination of academic year and summer research opportunities, offering undergraduates and their faculty mentors a structure for sustained engagement in research projects.

Offered through: Office of Undergraduate Research

Holster Scholars Program

Open to: Honors Program in Biology majors

The Holster Scholar Program is a selective enrichment opportunity available only to first-year Honors students. The program supports a small number of motivated students who pursue independent research, design, or creative projects during the summer following their first year.

Offered through: Honors Program

LEAP Mentoring Program

Open to: All biology majors

Learning by Experiencing and Applying Principles (LEAP) is a two-year program that is designed to provide biology majors early in their careers a unique experience to maximize their academic potential. Participants receive specialized faculty mentoring and begin research training as first-year students.

Offered through: UConn biology departments

LSAMP Program

Open to: All biology majors

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) supports historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation. Enrollment in the program is reserved to a select and highly committed group of students with a declared major in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and pre-health professions.

Offered through: Institute for Student Success

MARC Training Program

Open to: Biology majors interested in pursuing an MD or Ph.D. in biomedical sciences

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) training program provides participants from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds with an extended opportunity to engage in research. Undergraduates gain hands-on research experience in an immersive educational program, and are guided by faculty mentors who are active in biomedical science research.

Offered through: Department of Physiology and Neurobiology

McNair Scholars Program

Open to: Biology majors interested in pursuing a Ph.D.

The McNair Scholars Program prepares talented, highly motivated UConn undergraduate students for doctoral studies in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. McNair is open to low-income, first-generation college students, or those from populations underrepresented in STEM graduate fields, who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree.

Offered through: Institute for Student Success

OUR Research Travel Awards

Open to: All biology majors

Research Travel Awards provide up to $500 to undergraduate students for travel to conduct research, such as travel to consult materials in an archive or work with equipment in a national lab. Students may use these awards to pay for travel, parking, meals, and lodging while away from their home UConn campus.

Offered through: Office of Undergraduate Research

UConn IDEA Grant Program

Open to: All biology majors

UConn undergraduates in all majors at all campuses can apply individually or as part of a small group for an IDEA Grant. Awardees receive up to $4,000 per student to fund self-designed work on a topic, project, problem, artistic product or performance, or other entrepreneurial or creative idea of their choice. The project does not need to be tied to a student’s major or minor, but it should be guided by a student’s academic goals and future plans.

Offered through: Office of Undergraduate Research

SURF awards support full-time undergraduate students in summer research or creative projects. SURF project proposals are reviewed by a faculty committee and are awarded through a competitive process. Awardees receive up to $4,500. Projects must be supervised by a UConn faculty member.

Offered through: Office of Undergraduate Research

External Opportunities

UConn biology majors are also welcome to apply for external scholarships and funding programs.

National Scholarships and Fellowships

The UConn Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF) advises and mentors UConn students at all campuses who are competing for prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. ONSF also nominates and prepares candidates for scholarships that require institutional endorsement, including the Rhodes, Marshall, Goldwater, Udall, and Truman competitions, and those that incorporate some form of institutional endorsement or review into their selection processes, including the U.S. Student Fulbright grants.

External Research Funding

Students can also pursue research programs and internships outside of the University. Examples include:

  • National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (REU) - The REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program.
  • Operation Wallacea - Operation Wallacea is a network of academics from European and North American universities, who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research expeditions. Research is supported by students who join the programme, to strengthen their CV or resume or collect data for a dissertation or thesis.
  • Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) - OTS has an internship program offering opportunities at our three research stations in Costa Rica. Interns may come to OTS stations to work on independent projects based on their university’s requirements or to work on an available internship jobs through OTS.

For more external research funding opportunities, visit the Office of Undergraduate Research website.