Research in the Biology & Chemistry department is done at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue research projects because it is often in this setting that the best and longest-lasting learning occurs. Many studies have shown that undergraduate students that conduct research are more likely to succeed in their career and to gain entrance to health professional schools at a higher frequency than students that do not conduct research. And it's fun to discover knowledge that no one else knows! The best way for an undergraduate student to initiate a research program is to contact a faculty member that is conducting a research project that interests them. Faculty research interests can be found by viewing the faculty member's web page. If the Biology & Chemistry faculty member has room available in their lab they will reach an agreement with the student about the project and how much time should be spent on it. In some cases the student may be able to secure funds through the MSU Undergraduate Fellow research program. This program pays the students for each hour spent conducting research. To find out more about the program the student should ask the faculty member for which they intend to conduct research. Another opportunity that the student may want to pursue is to conduct research for credit. The BES department has a research topics course (BIOL 476) which give credit for the learning experience of conducting research. In order to obtain credit, the student must decide on a research project with their faculty member and have it approved by the Department chair. At the time the research is done, a report must be submitted that details the project, procedures used, the results of the experiments, and any conclusions that are made. If this is satisfactory, the student will be given credit for the coursework.
Research is also done at the M.S. level in the Biology program in the thesis-track degree. This is much like the undergraduate research, except that a higher level of research is expected. Students must initiate their research in the same way as undergraudate students, by approaching a faculty member that is doing research in which they are interested. The procedures for completing a graduate-level research project are found in the graduate catalog. In some cases the students are supported by graduate assistantships which provides a stipend for them in return for assisting the teaching activities of the BES department.
Julie Taylor, Undergraduate Research Fellow