Research in the Department of Biology and Chemistry is done at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue research projects because it is often in such a setting that the best and longest-lasting learning occurs. Many studies have shown that undergraduate students who conduct research are more likely to succeed in their career and gain entrance to health professional schools at a higher frequency than students who do not conduct research.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The best way for students to initiate a research program is to contact a faculty member who is conducting a research project that interests them. Faculty research interests can be found by viewing the faculty member's profile page. If the Biology and 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, students 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, students should ask the faculty member for which they intend to conduct research.
Another opportunity students may want to pursue is to conduct research for credit. The Department of Biology and Chemistry has a research topics course (BIOL 476) which gives credit for the learning experience of conducting research. In order to obtain credit, students 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.
Graduate research Opportunities
Research is also done at the graduate level in the Biology program in the thesis-track degree. This is much like undergraduate research except a higher level of research is expected. Students must initiate their research in the same way as undergraduate 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 that provides a stipend for them in return for assisting the teaching activities of the Department of Biology and Chemistry.