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Doing Research in Biology

Research is an important element in education in the biological sciences. Many students take the opportunity to conduct research with faculty members either during the year or during the summer through the URSI program. We encourage all students to consider independent research as a way to get a broad education in biology and as an important first step in preparing for future graduate school opportunities. 

Students studying the Emerald Ash Borer- A Damaging Invasive Species

Independent Research

Students have a variety of ways to conduct independent research in the Biology Department. Independent research through the courses BIOL 178, BIOL 298, BIOL 399, and BIOL 303 can be elected during any semester. In addition, the department offers a number of intensively mentored experiences that enables close engagement in research with a faculty member. 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 at least 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 is a good idea to learn about the faculty member's research by reading their papers. 

More information about doing research in the Biology department can be found here.

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. View Biology Projects on the URSI site for abstracts of past projects and more information about the institute.