Undergraduate Research

We believe motivated, curious students need to be consistently challenged to excel and grow in knowledge. Undergraduate research is an excellent opportunity to advance your academic development. Our biology major proudly offers multiple research opportunities for undergraduates to help deepen your understanding of the world through hands-on experimentation and observation.

Whether you are considering pursuing a graduate degree in biological sciences or wanting to jump right into a career in the sciences, undergraduate research is a must. Participating in research projects at an undergraduate level provides a solid foundation for the next steps of your academic growth and professional development.

Mercer University offers many opportunities for undergraduate research including:

Course-Based Research

Are you interested in getting involved in biology research, but don’t know where to start? Course-based research is a great place to get your feet wet. In many of our laboratory courses, we incorporate independent research opportunities. This helps you learn what research is all about without the extra time commitment outside the classroom. Throughout course-based research projects, you will:

  • Address a course-related biological question
  • Design and carry out experiments
  • Work in lab groups

Courses with elements of undergraduate research range from Introductory Biology sequence to 400-level classes, with half of the semester in 400-level biology laboratory courses devoted to independent research.

Faculty-Led Research

Guiding undergraduate students through research projects is a priority for our biology faculty, with most professors maintaining active research programs. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to learn the principles of biological research directly from an experienced mentor. Our faculty offers a wide-range of research interests, and you can browse each of them on our faculty page.

What Will I Do in Faculty-Led Research?

If you are invited to participate in faculty-led research, you will enroll in either BIO 299 or BIO 499 for one or two hours of credit and study a specific biological question. During the semester, you will:

  • Work one-on-one with your mentor
  • Spend 3-4 hours per week in a laboratory
  • Complete outside reading and writing assignments, as determined by your mentor

How Do I Apply for Faculty-Led Research?

It’s best to speak with a professor about working with them on research at least one semester before you plan to participate. To apply for a research position, download and complete an application and email it to the professors with whom you are interested in conducting research.

What Are the Requirements?

There is no GPA requirement to apply for faculty-led research opportunities, but a GPA above 3.0 in the sciences will boost your chances of successfully applying. Faculty-led research offers students one-on-one time with a mentor, meaning space is limited. Priority is given to biology and related majors. However, some spots are available for undergraduates at Mercer Medical School.

National Science Foundation Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides opportunities for students to work with scientists at external universities through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. REUs expose students to ideas and research that can lay the groundwork for post-graduate training. If you are interested, contact the host university directly. You can find more information on REUs and host universities here.

Mercer Undergraduate Biomedical Scholar Training Initiative (MUBS)

Mercer University understands the value of offering research opportunities for undergraduates. That’s why we created MUBS, a training initiative designed exclusively for Mercer undergraduates. Students selected for the training program work with a Mercer faculty member full-time for 10 weeks of the summer, conducting original research. You can learn more about MUBS here.

Other Opportunities

If you don’t find a research position immediately, there are still several opportunities for you to be involved in the research process. Be sure to show initiative and drive. If you are interested in researching a topic, study it on your own and design an experimental plan. You can also volunteer in a laboratory and ask permission to sit in on laboratory meetings. Chances are, you will find a professor excited to work with you if you demonstrate how important it is to you.