Student Research at SUNY Geneseo

So, you want to do research in a Biology Professor's lab?

Here are the steps we recommend you take:

  1. It's best to begin investigating research opportunities during your sophomore year and begin the research during your junior year.  You, of course, can begin earlier or later!
  2. Decide whether you really want to commit to doing research.  Research is generally rewarding and challenging.  Taking BIOL 381 available only in the Fall semester may help you in your decision as to whether to do research.  This course is required if you plan to "graduate with Biology honors" by completing the honors program and honors thesis.
  3. Determine which professor appears to be the best qualified person to supervise you and your research.  Start with the information provided by faculty members.  Talk to them in person or begin your search by browsing faculty websites.  Talking to students in these labs also is really helpful.
  4. Determine whether there is room for you in the faculty member's lab.  It's possible there is no room.  If you are hardworking and have demonstrated the ability to work independently, you may have better luck.  Note that some professors have ongoing projects with which students are involved, while other professors support students doing fully independent projects.  Sometimes there are both going on at the same time.
  5. Arrange a time to meet with the professor to discuss research opportunities.  Offer to provide an informal research plan or proposal.  A research plan (no more than one page) will help convince the professor you are serious about research (it'll likely be modified later).  This might be best based on what other students have done in that professor's lab.  Check the professor's website to refine your ideas.
  6. Plan to complete your research project by presenting the work on G.R.E.A.T Day or at a professional conference and/or publish your science in a scientific journal.

Chang research lab

Bosch with students on Conesus Lake

Photos by Brian Bennett.