Undergraduate research is an excellent way to enhance your biology degree and make yourself stand out among other candidates for internships, jobs, or graduate or professional school. Check out our tips on how to identify a research lab to get involved.
There are multiple ways to participate in undergraduate research including:
- Research for credit
- Research for pay
- Georgia Tech competitive paid research fellowships
- Research as a volunteer
- Research for credit outside the School of Biological Sciences
- Research Option
- Summer internships and current opportunities
- Travel awards
- More information
Research for credit
To receive course credit for conducting research, you must be involved in a biology-related, research project and not simply providing services that are only distantly related to research goals (e.g., washing glassware or preparing media). Freshmen and sophomores register for BIOL 2699, which can count as free elective hours. Juniors and seniors not taking part in their Senior Research Experience register for BIOL 4699. However, juniors or seniors completing their Senior Research Experience register for BIOL 4690 or 4910. BIOL 4699, 4690, and 4910 can count towards a Biology major’s program of study; up to 6 credits of BIOL 4699 can count as Biology electives. Additional BIOL 4699 credits count as free electives. Your faculty mentor must provide permission for you to register for any of the research classes by emailing Benita Black (include student name and GT ID#). Each credit hour registered represents approximately 3 hours per week of research effort for a semester.
Research for pay
In some cases, you can be paid to conduct research-related activities. As with research for credit, you must be involved in a biology-related research project, and not simply providing services that are only distantly related to research goals. Current pay rates are ~$10-12/hr depending on experience. After you and your faculty member agree to the terms, you must visit the Biological Sciences finance office to complete appropriate paperwork to get paid. You will then be responsible for completing bi-weekly timesheets that your faculty mentor signs. If you are hired at the start of a semester, you should register for BIOL 2698, if a freshman or sophomore, or 4698, if a junior or senior. Although these are audit-only, no-credit courses that do not count towards your program of study, they allow you to document your paid research experience on your transcript. Your faculty mentor must provide permission for you to register by emailing Benita Black (include student name and GT ID#).
Competitive paid research fellowships
Georgia Tech offers a number of competitive paid research fellowships that match you with a Georgia Tech faculty member for a semester-long research experience. These programs also have travel awards. For more information, see
- the President's Undergraduate Research Awards (PURA)
- the College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship Awards (URSA) program websites.
- In addition, there are numerous competitive Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) around the country, including the Georgia Tech Biological Sciences' REU in Aquatic Chemical Ecology.
Research as a volunteer
You may volunteer to conduct research-related activities. These arrangements are informal and the work can be negotiated between you and your faculty advisor. You must fill out the Georgia Tech Agreement for Volunteer Services form available from the Biological Sciences office to officially recognize the volunteer relationship.
Research for credit or pay outside the School of Biological Sciences
You can conduct research in other Schools within Georgia Tech or even in institutions outside of Georgia Tech, and obtain credit for BIOL 2698, 2699, 4690, 4698, or 4699 (BIOL 4910 can only be taken with a School of Biological Sciences faculty member who holds a major or minor, but not courtesy-only, appointment in Biological Sciences). In this case, you have to have an official co-supervisor within Biological Sciences who will serve as the instructor of record (and second reader in the case of BIOL 4690). You can contact Dr. Michael Goodisman, the School of Biological Sciences Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program, for help identifying an appropriate Biological Sciences co-supervisor. Note that a co-supervisor is not needed if your faculty mentor has a minor or courtesy appointment within the School of Biological Sciences. The primary research faculty mentor (e.g. in Psychology, Emory University, etc.) must be a PhD or MD level scientist, preferably in a group leader-like role (not a postdoc, etc). To obtain approval for this research to count for BIOL course credit, you must provide your Biological Sciences co-supervisor a description of the research you will be doing, the name of the primary research mentor, and the department or institution of the research mentor. Your primary research mentor must email the School of Biological Sciences Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program, Dr. Michael Goodisman, agreeing to serve as you research mentor, follow the Biology syllabus for the course in question, and provide the final grade to the Biological Sciences co-supervisor. If appropriate, the School of Biological Sciences Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program will approve the project for credit or pay.
The Research Option gives you a competitive advantage on getting into graduate and professional schools through an intensive, multi-semester research experience, an undergraduate honors thesis. For more information, see our page on the Research Option for Biology majors.
Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs)
Summer REUs are competitive, paid opportunities for full time research during the summer. Application deadlines are typically early February.
- Georgia Tech Biology's REU in Aquatic Chemical Ecology
- Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project's Bee-INSPIRED Summer Research Program
- Current research opportunities: Summer 2017 REUs and other programs
If you have been accepted to present a poster or talk at a conference, you may qualify for travel funding from the College of Sciences. See that CoS Conference Travel Grants page for more information.
For more information: