Intensives and Research Opportunities in Biology

“Intensives” are non-classroom-based experiential learning opportunities in which students can work with faculty individually or in small groups. These experiences may include research in faculty labs, activities in partnership with community organizations, project-based learning, or skills-based experiences.

Small Group Intensive Opportunities

The Biology Department offers a variety of small group Intensives each semester. Examples of small-group intensive offerings include “Biology in the Community: Public Health, Restoration and Management on the Preserve,” “Creating 3D Biological Models,” “Applied Biostatistics,” ”Biology in Board Games,” and “Introduction to Animal and Dairy Science,” among others.

Information about upcoming Intensives can be found in the Vassar College Catalogue course listings for Biology 293 and Biology 393: Special Topics in Biology.

Independent Research Opportunities

Students have a variety of ways to conduct independent research in the Biology Department throughout their time at Vassar. Independent research through the courses Biology 178, Biology 298, Biology 399, and Biology 303 can be elected during any semester through special permission during pre-registration. Students will usually consult with faculty members about their availability to take on students in their research labs for a particular semester. Usually, this is best done one or two semesters before the proposed research might be performed. Typically faculty members take on students to work on ongoing projects in their laboratories. Therefore, it can be very helpful to learn about the faculty member’s research area in advance, either by reading their papers or the information on their faculty profile pages.

Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI)

Since 1986, the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) has shown hundreds of students the wonders of scientific discovery through high-level research with faculty supervisors. Each summer, students and faculty collaborate in an intensive ten-week program, designing and shaping their views of the world with exciting explorations, rigorous experiments, and critical analyses. Among the nation’s oldest undergraduate scientific research programs, URSI continues to be powered by Vassar faculty and students. This rich research experience includes designing, performing, analyzing, and presenting experiments.