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What is a "real" education?

If you want to go beyond a traditional education consisting of taking notes in lecture halls, this is the place to start. Involvement in a research laboratory is one of several options that allow you to enhance your college experience. Laboratory experience is highly valuable if you are interested in attending professional or medical school. Research experience is essential if you want to go to graduate school. There are four easy steps:

  1. Identify a research field of interest.

  2. Match your research interest with faculty members‘ at OU by reading over research summaries provided by faculty who are interested in involving undergraduates in their research (see link below)

  3. Learn more about their research projects by visiting their web pages and reading their publications.

  4. Email and visit the professor of your choice and discuss the possibility of working in their laboratory.

The Faculty Research Interests page will allow you to get started on steps 1-3. The number of positions is limited, so professors will need to evaluate your true interest and motivation. Thus, be sure you are interested and informed before contacting a professor.

Can I earn credits for undergraduate research?

Yes, Biological Sciences majors with at least a 3.0 GPA can register for BIOS 4940 Undergraduate Research. Students who complete a research project may choose to write up that research as a Tier III thesis in BIOS 4941. Students interested in pursuing Honors research should read the next section.

BIOS 4940 Undergraduate Research. Prerequisites: 14 credit hours in BIOS, 3.0 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor. When a professor in the Department of Biological or Biomedical Sciences has agreed to have you do research in their lab, they may enroll you in this credit/no credit course for 1-3 credit hours per semester, up to a maximum of 8 credit hours. Note that each credit represents 3-4 hours of work per week for the entire semester.

BIOS 4941 Senior Research and Thesis (Tier III). Prerequisites: 3 credit hours in BIOS 4940, 3.0 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor and permission of Tier III course instructor. Students who have completed a research project may chose, with agreement of their research mentor, to write up their research as a thesis. Students must also present their research as a poster or in a talk. The course is 3 credit hours and is graded. Students should contact the course instructor, Dr. Christine Griffin no later than the beginning of their senior year if they plan to write a senior thesis.

Can I graduate with honors (even if I am not a member of the Honors Tutorial College)?

Yes, Biological Sciences majors may graduate with Department Honors in the Biological Sciences through the College of Arts & Sciences, if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Start doing research with a faculty mentor in the Department of Biological or Biomedical Sciences during your junior year. Generally, this means enrolling in BIOS 4940 during spring semester of your junior year.

  2. Discuss doing a senior honors thesis with your faculty research mentor and the Departmental Honors Coordinator (DHC), Dr. Christine Griffin, before the end of your junior year.

  3. Enroll in BIOS 4940H in fall of your senior year.
    BIOS 4940H Honors Undergraduate Research. Prerequisites: 25 credit hours in BIOS, BIOS 4940 or other research, 3.5 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor and permission of Departmental Honors Coordinator (DHC). This course is designed for seniors in fall semester who plan to graduate in the spring with Honors in the Department of Biological Sciences by having a high GPA, completing a research project, and writing an Honors thesis (BIOS 4941H). The course is for 2-6 credit hours (usually 4-6) and requires permission of both the research mentor and DHC.

  4. Enroll in BIOS 4941H in spring semester of your senior year, complete an honors research thesis, and give an oral presentation of your work. BIOS 4941H Senior Honors Thesis. Prerequisites: BIOS 4940H, 3.5 GPA in BIOS, permission of faculty research mentor and permission of Departmental Honors Coordinator. Students who have completed a BIOS 4940H research project may write up their research as an Honors thesis. The thesis must be approved by the research mentor, a second faculty reader, the DHC, and the College of Arts and Sciences Thesis Guidlines . Students must present their research in a talk. The course is 3-6 credit hours (generally 4-6) and is graded.

  5. Graduate with a GPA of at least 3.5, i.e., cum laude, in the major and overall.

If you are interested in this program, you must start planning with your research mentor and the Departmental Honors Coordinator in your junior year. Contact Dr. Christine Griffin for more information.

Are there special programs to enhance my undergraduate experience?

The Under Graduate Research Immersion Program - UGRIP

The special learning community of OCEES (Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies) faculty, post-docs, visiting professors, and graduate students provides the opportunity to engage Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) undergraduates in scientific inquiry-based learning and research. The UGRIP plan is open to all undergraduate EEB majors on a competitive basis. It consists of two components (see below) designed to engage students during freshman through senior years with research engagement and a formal research course experience in the junior/ senior years. Our philosophy is to invoke research experience early and in parallel with their core major requirements, then add formal research experience as upper classmen. UGRIP graduates have formal research experience that serves to increase their competitiveness for future employment/ academic opportunities.

GETTING INTO UGRIP: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required and must be retained. UGRIP accepts new applications from freshman, sophomores, and juniors interested in EEB research at OU each February. Students from participating departments (Biological Sciences, Environmental and Plant Biology, Geology, Geography, Philosophy) are welcome. Students are evaluated on academic standing, GPA, their application materials and statement of research interest. Accepted students will be notified in late February and will be registered in BIOS 3880 for Spring Semester (time TBA). Information on the OCEES, the UGRIP and Application forms (due late fall semester) are available at OCEES or UGRIP

Are there funding opportunities for undergraduate research?

Yes, there are several paid positions and fellowships available from different sources; visit the specific web pages for details and application deadlines.

The Provost's Undergraduate Research Fund (PURF) awards $100 - $1,500 to students conducting original research projects, creative projects, and scholarly work. Funding covers the cost of items such as travel, supplies, and materials that are necessary in order to conduct the research. All requests for funding must be justified in terms of their contribution to the research and the lack of available funds from other sources. Applications are due in early fall semester; more information is available at PURF

The John J. Kopchick MCB and TBS Undergraduate Student Support Fund application deadline is Thursday September 25, 2014. Funding up to $1500 for undergraduate students working with MCB/TBS faculty and conducting translational medical research and scholarly activities are eligible to apply. Eligible undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. You can review the guidelines on the MCB website or at the Vice President for Research website

Student Enhancement Awards (SEA) are sponsored by the Ohio University Council for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. This program assists undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, by providing funds for research and presentation of their research at professional conferences. The awards are based on competitive research proposals and provide funding ($6000 maximum) for up to one year. Applications are due in early spring semester; more information is available at SEA

Program to Aid Career Exploration (PACE) positions are administered through the Ohio University Financial Aid office and are intended to provide paid employment in jobs that will enhance career exploration. Students must be financially qualified to apply for PACE positions. A listing of PACE positions becomes available to students accepted into the program in spring semester for the following year. PACE

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF), sponsored by The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), provide summer research opportunities for undergraduate students interested in careers in medicine or biomedical research. Participants in this program work in an active research laboratory under the guidance of a faculty member. Students combine lab work with summer school courses or other educational experiences. Selection is based on academic records and the appropriateness of applicant's scientific interests. Students about to begin their senior year of college studies are preferred, but promising juniors and recent graduates will be considered. Participants are provided with room, board, and a small stipend. Eight undergraduate credit hours in biology are also available tuition-free to program participants. Those program participants who meet minimum requirements for admission to OU-HCOM, including having taken the MCAT, will be offered an opportunity to interview during the summer. SURF

Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars program encourages undergraduate research and supports research efforts of Voinovich School faculty and professional staff. Honors Tutorial College and Departmental Honors students participate in basic and applied research under this program. Scholar positions are awarded on a competitive basis. Opportunities include working with Voinovich Center Faculty Research Groups, Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development, Appalachian Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative, Environmental Studies faculty, National Business Incubation Association,

Are there student organizations for those interested in research?

TriBeta National Biological Honor Society: Beta Beta Beta (βββ) is a national honor and professional society for students in the biological sciences. A TriBeta chapter offers its members activities and experiences that enrich and extend but do not duplicate the primary requirements for the biology major. TriBeta was established in 1922 in Oklahoma; Ohio University's chapter of TriBeta was established in 1994.

The national chapter of TriBeta publishes a national journal BIOS, to recognize outstanding individual and chapter accomplishments. This journal publishes articles by TriBeta members and articles of national society affairs. Subjects covered include articles on current research, developments in biology, biology as a profession, as well as graduate and profession training for biologists. Special emphasis is placed on publication of undergraduate research papers. TriBeta also holds regional conferences, where students can present their research. For details, email Dr. Tanda, Club Faculty Advisor.

Microbiology Student Organization: This organization promotes student involvement in microbiology and related fields. MSO furthers the education of individuals with interests in microbiology and promotes development of solid relationships between students and faculty to make the college experience more enjoyable. For details, email Dr. Cunningham Club Faculty Advisor.

Wildlife Club: This club is dedicated to exposing its members to the myriads of animals that call Ohio their home. Hiking, camping, conservation work and simple viewing of animals is the focus of the club. Anyone is welcome as long as they treat wildlife with respect. The club meets about three times a quarter to plan events, witness wildlife presentations and enjoy each other's company. For more information, email Dr. Donald Miles, the Club Faculty Advisor.

Whom should I contact regarding off-campus research opportunities?

Ann LaComb is the contact person for off-campus research opportunities and information on shadowing and other health-related volunteer experiences.