Undergraduate Research

Join life-changing research, and contribute to the field of science

Through unique undergraduate research experiences, our students have the chance to take their learning beyond the classroom – solving real-world problems. Working side-by-side with professors, you’ll develop practical skills that set you apart from the crowd, and have the chance to publish your work for the world to see.

Nearly half of all biology majors take advantage of high-impact, individualized instruction through Undergraduate Research, Independent Study, and LSAMP before they graduate. As a result, about half of biology faculty journal publications include student coauthors.

Further down this page, you will find important information for students who want to add a research component to their education in biology.

Why do research as an undergraduate?


Students who do scientific research as undergraduates repeatedly say the same thing: it changed their lives. They get to be discoverers of scientific information rather than consumers. It makes them more competitive when applying to jobs or graduate and professional schools.

In fact, these life-changing research experiences have propelled our recent graduates to conduct graduate work at top universities including Harvard and Stanford. But most of all, they chose to conduct research to join the ranks of scientists, and seekers of knowledge following a centuries-old intellectual tradition. 

Summer Undergraduate Research at UNI's Tallgrass Prairie Center

Girl in a field looking at a map
Watch Now
Student looking through a microscope.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Research opportunities are available for qualified students in the Department of Biology. There are over 20 departmental faculty involved in research in subfields including:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Biology students curate fiddler crab collection for American Museum of Natural History

students with the crab collection

Find a Research Area

Students interested in participating in undergraduate research should read about faculty research interests and then contact potential faculty mentors in their areas of interest.

See previous student research topics

This collection on UNI ScholarWorks contains work by undergraduate students in the UNI Department of Biology. All student works require department, unit, or individual faculty review.


How do I get involved?

Opportunities for involvement in undergraduate research in the Department of Biology include:


What else do I need to know or do?



Think ahead!
Applications for professional schools are typically due in the fall. If you want research experience to go on your application/resume, you need to get involved early in your academic career.

Reliability, responsibility, and enthusiasm.

Faculty value mentoring students with good work habits who are excited to learn.


Take Initiative.

Reach out to potential faculty mentors about research opportunities. Explore faculty research interests. Start by sending an email or by introducing yourself in person.


Don't be discouraged if a particular faculty member's lab is "full." Keep trying!

Keep it short and simple.

When introducing yourself, say why you are interested in getting research experience and what your interests are, and ask whether there are any opportunities available.