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Leaves from Dominant Trees at the Changbai National Park, China (Peter White Lab)

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Undergraduate Research

The Biology Department is home to a thriving and diverse program in undergraduate research. BIOL 295, 395, 395H, 495 and 692H are available to Biology majors/2nd majors only.  Faculty, postdocs, and graduate students serve as research mentors to undergraduates within the department and in related disciplines throughout the university. This program provides opportunities for advanced undergraduates to conduct cutting edge research in the laboratory and field.

Hands-on research experience provides motivated students with the opportunity to enrich their educations and develop their early careers.  Many students have had the chance to publish their research in top journals (summarized in a list of undergraduate co-authored papers). Students often develop long-term professional relationships with their mentors and go on to rewarding and productive careers in  various academic disciplines. We recommend that you begin your research experience as early as practical after gaining sufficient background through core coursework (you must have completed either BIOL 201 or 202 before you start your research for credit), to allow time for the completion of a significant research project.  You may choose to start work in your research area as a volunteer during your first year at UNC.  Most labs have their own websites and they welcome volunteers.  Be proactive and seek out your own research path!

NEW STARTING FALL 2014:  students taking their second semester of BIOL 395 will be required to prepare a research poster that will be presented in the Genome Sciences Building lobby at a designated day/time and also will be required to turn in a final abstract summarizing their research.  This takes the place of the 10-page paper.  After six credit hours of BIOL 395, students can continue doing research for credit by signing up for BIOL 495 (pass/fail and 10-page paper required). A green BIOL 395 Research Poster application must be completed.  It is due the first day of classes. The following notation will be added to your official transcript:  “Commendation for Undergraduate Research in Biology.”

In addition to providing professional rewards, participation in the undergraduate research program also offers academic credit toward completion of requirements for the biology major. In a typical semester, the department has over 130 undergraduate Biology majors doing research for course credit. Other students work in laboratories for pay or on a volunteer basis; however you can’t get paid and get academic credit at the same time in the same lab.

In the left-side navigation menu you will find more details about  the research opportunities in Biology.

Note that BIOL 395/495 is offered all semesters – Fall, Spring, Summer School I and Summer School II.

BIOL 395H is offered in Fall & Spring only.  Students must attend a weekly class in addition to their research.  There is no BIOL 495H.

Applications for 395/395H/495 research are due the first day of classes – final research papers/abstracts are due the last day of classes – all semesters.

Applications for 692H are due Nov 15 if you are graduating in May and April 15 if you are graduating in December.  BIOL 692H is not offered in Summer School.  There is no BIOL 691H.

For more information, please contact:

BIOL 395/395H/495 – Dr Gidi Shemer, bishemer@email.unc.edu (approves all 395/395H/495 applications)

BIOL 395/395H Poster – Dr Blaire Steinwand, blairejs@live.unc.edu

BIOL 295 – Dr Jennifer Coble, jcoble@bio.unc.edu

BIOL 692H – Dr John Bruno, jbruno@unc.edu

Applications in 213 Coker.  You’ll be registered by the department.