Undergraduate Research

CellsUndergraduates participate in research in several ways and can receive academic credit, either as an Independent Study, as an Honors project, and as part of an ongoing course. Some research opportunities may be in the form of paid summer research or internships, as part of ongoing William and Mary research programs or with an outside institution. Whether as part of a paid position on a grant or as part of an Honors project, hands-on research experience is not only increasingly essential to students preparing for graduate programs in science but is also recognized as one of the most effective ways to learn about science.

Every Biology major is encouraged to get involved in undergraduate research. About half of our Biology majors do supervised undergraduate research on campus, and around one third get experience in one or more summer research programs elsewhere (e.g., the National Institutes of Health in Washington). Interested students can learn more about current research projects by William and Mary undergraduates by attending the Annual Undergraduate Science Research Symposium. Information about off-campus research opportunities is available through the Career Center

In addition to undergraduate funding from faculty research grants, on-campus fellowships, and individual awards from many sources, the College has funding for larger grants in various areas of biology:

  • The College has been awarded several multi-year $1.6 million grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to fund a Science Education and Research Program for the advancement of undergraduate education and outreach in biological sciences and other scientific disciplines as they relate to biology. This funding has expanded undergraduate research opportunities, led to new and enhanced course offerings, and provided resources for teachers and pre-college students.

  • The College was also awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (2007-2012) to support the education and training of undergraduates in computational science. Although the grant has been specifically awarded to the Departments of Mathematics, Applied Science, and Computer Science, computationally inclined biology majors are encouraged to seek out research opportunities with faculty members who are participating in this Computational Science training for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences program (CSUMS).