Biology Research Option
B.S. or B.A. in Biology with Research Option
The Research Option is a challenging track within the Biology major, specifically designed for highly motivated students. The Research Option consists of a number of courses and experiences designed to prepare students to pursue a career in scientific research in graduate school, industry, government, medical school, or science education. Most students enter the program as sophomores or juniors.
Program Paperwork and FormsLink to Upload the Seminar Evaluation Form
To complete the Research Option, the following requirements are added to the requirements for the BS or BA degree in Biology:
- Complete the Declaration of Major/Change of Advisor Form, and check the Research Option box. The Declaration of Major/Change of Advisor Form must be completed and signed by your academic advisor prior to admission into the program.
- Participate in a significant research experience. This means working on an independent research project for the equivalent of 4 credits. This requirement can be fulfilled in the lab of a GU faculty member, or with prior permission, at a different institution.
- Present your research. There are many opportunities to present your work in poster format, such as the annual Murdock Research Conference in the fall or other regional and national meetings.
- Attend seminars. You are expected to attend 12 biology-related seminars prior to graduation, and upload a seminar evaluation form for each one. See the left sidebar for links to appropriate seminars during each year.
Click here to upload your completed evaluation form.
- Take BIOL 484: Biology Research Seminar.
- Take math classes.
a.) a college calculus course (MATH148: Survey of Calculus or MATH157: Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)
b.) a statistics course (MATH121: Introductory Statistics or BIOL305: Biological Data Analysis) or a biological mathematics course.
- Write up your research results in BIOL 499.
- Participate in science education outreach.
When you graduate, list "Research Option" as a concentration. Your degree will be granted as a B.S. or B.A. in Biology with a Research Option.
People to Know
Dr. Nancy Staub – Director of the Research Option Program
Christy Watson – Research Coordinator
Rachel Zack – Outreach Coordinator
Dr. Howard Glass – Director of INNRRC and GSRP
Your Research Mentor – a Gonzaga faculty member, or with prior approval, a researcher outside of Gonzaga University.
Additional Program DetailsPerforming independent research
To fulfill the research requirement, you must have an equivalent of 4 credits of research. For reference, one summer of full-time research (40 hours per week) is equivalent to 6 credits; one semester of research (5 hours per week) is equivalent to 1 credit.
Enrollment in the research option does not guarantee a research experience. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a research position.
Research positions are limited and can be very competitive. For example, the total number of positions varies by semester, and the average placement is 75%. Your chances of obtaining a position are greatly enhanced if you (1) are genuinely interested in a research topic and can communicate that interest to a potential faculty mentor, and (2) can show you are a strong candidate with solid grades in your science classes. Sometimes paid research positions are difficult to come by, in which case consider volunteering in a lab or working for credit.
Important dates for paid research positions at Gonzaga:
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester||Summer|
Immediately at the start of the semester
|First week of November||Middle of January|
|Applications Due||Second week of classes||Just prior to Thanksgiving Break||Middle of February|
Important dates for paid research positions at other institutions:
Although deadlines do vary, most summer internship programs at other research institutions have deadlines in January and February for their summer positions. For a list of research positions at other institutions, contact Christy Watson or Dr. Glass. A limited list of summer internships are available on the Career Resources or Off-Campus Opportunities pages.
Presenting your own research
Summer research students and those supported by HHMI funds are expected to participate in the GSRP Fall Family Weekend Poster Session. In addition, Research Option students must present their research at a venue outside of Gonzaga. Conferences and meetings are a great way to meet others in your field of study, and will often help you decide how and where to take your career once you graduate from Gonzaga. Some of the most commonly attended conferences are listed below.
- The Murdock College Science Research Conference is held each year in early November at a university in the Pacific Northwest. Typically, approximately 30 Gonzaga students and faculty travel to the conference together. Contact Dr. Glass for more information.
- The Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference is held each April at a Spokane-area university. Contact Dr. Glass for more information.
- Additional presentation options include other regional undergraduate research conferences as well as the national meetings of professional societies. Travel grants of approximately $500 are available to assist students attending these regional and national conferences. For more information on how to apply for travel funds, please contact Christy Watson.
Learning about the research of others
Links to Biology seminars - see the left sidebar.
Link to Upload the Seminar Evaluation Form
As a member of the research community, you are responsible for supporting the research of others, as well as informing yourself of the vast amount of research taking place on our campus and elsewhere. To take advantage of this opportunity you are expected to attend biology-related seminars and provide personal feedback on them. After you attend a seminar, complete the Seminar Evaluation Form. You must provide feedback on 12 seminars prior to graduation to fulfill this requirement. Upload the evaluation forms using the link above. Seminar announcements are posted on bulletin boards around Hughes and emailed to biology students through the biology student listserv. See Dr. Glass if you are not receiving announcements.
K-12 Science Outreach
Participation in science education outreach can be an incredibly fulfilling activity. Our outreach program focuses on bringing engaging, interesting, and age-appropriate science into K-12 classrooms in the Spokane Public Schools. Each GU student enrolled in the Research Option is required to do science education outreach through Science in Action! or a similar program, for a total of 16 hours in a single semester. Participation in these programs fulfills the Gonzaga Service Learning requirement for some classes. For details and scheduling information, contact Rachel Zack