A student conducts a laboratory experiment

"Learning by doing" is the best way to study life science, so hands-on-experience is an active part of the undergraduate biology program at UVM. Students receive credit for participating in research projects at every level from first year students to seniors. During the summer or academic year, undergraduates work with  faculty members to collect data that leads to publications in major scientific journals. In the summer, students can be paid from faculty grants or from stipends that are part of competitive awards. 

Academic Programs for Learning and Engagement (APLE)

These are grants from the College of Arts and Sciences and may be awarded to fund academic year work (to pay for supplies, for example) or for the summer (supplies and stipend). Biology Department undergraduates have been very successful in receiving these awards. Learn more about APLE funding.

Beckman Scholars Program

The University of Vermont is among 12 recipients selected for a prestigious 2014 Beckman Scholars Program award recognizing outstanding undergraduate research students in chemistry and biological sciences.

The award from the Beckman Foundation totals $130,000 for five Beckman Scholars, payable over the three-year term of the award beginning in the summer of 2014. It provides scholarship assistance in the amount of $21,000 per student for two summers and one academic year in support of a sustained, in-depth undergraduate research experience. Scholars are expected to perform research activities for 10 hours each week during the semester and 40 hours per week during summer research internships in 2014 and 2015. Beckman Scholars are expected to pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Read more about the Beckman Scholars Program.

Getting Credit for Research

During the academic year, many undergraduates carry out research and also often receive academic credit for this work. Students work with a faculty research advisor to design a project and submit the project description and a method for evaluation of the work to the department's advisor in charge of undergraduate research courses. Upon approval, students then enroll for research courses: Bio 098 Research Apprenticeship; Bio 193/194 Internships; Bio 198 or Bio 298 Undergraduate Research; Honors 208/209 Honors Research in Biology. The apprenticeship is designed for students in the first or second year to become acquainted with research. Internships are designed for students who want an experience outside UVM where they might work with the Medical Examiner, State Forensic Lab, a law firm specializing in intellectual property, a biotechnology firm, as examples. There must be an academic component minimally with a research paper and data analysis. Bio 198 and Bio 298 are the courses students enroll in when they are carrying out research in their junior and senior years. As for the apprenticeship and internship, the undergraduate must work with a faculty research advisor to design a project and a method of evaluation before the student begins the work. Senior students who are taking College Honors enroll in Hon 208 Honors Research, which requires a formal proposal to the Honors Committee to describe the honors thesis research topic.

Learning the Art of Science

Undergraduates in Dr. Laura J. May-Collado's CURE course practice the techniques of scientific research and get a front row seat on her own research into acoustic communication in marine mammals (think "whale songs!) May-Collado shares her insights with students--and students share their own research projects--on the CURE: Soundscapes and Behavior blog