Freshmen and sophomores considering a research career would benefit from some of the following classes, as well as enrolling in one of the undergraduate research programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences or the College of Letters and Sciences. Long-term involvement in undergraduate research provides a stronger foundation for continuing to graduate school and increases potential for getting your name on published research.
Programs / Courses / Workshops at UW
Freshmen and sophomores considering a research career would benefit from some of the following classes, as well as enrolling in one of the undergraduate research programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences or the College of Letters and Sciences. Long-term involvement in undergraduate research provides a stronger foundation for continuing to graduate school and increases potential for getting your name on published research.Learn more >
Biology 260/261 – Entering Research
These classes for freshmen or sophomores are meant to support and enhance the undergraduate research experience. They focus on issues such as how to find a lab, how to design an independent research project and gaining experience reading scientific literature.
CALS Honors in Research
This program will help students learn the background and methods of the discipline; identify an interesting problem or question for study; learn to draft a proposal defending the relevance and appropriateness of research efforts; and demonstrate appropriate skills in working on that problem in a professional manner. Students also will analyze and interpret the results of their efforts, and present results as a thesis and in an approved public forum.Learn more >
Undergraduate Research Scholars
The Undergraduate Research Scholars program (URS) is dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of UW-Madison students by providing first and second year undergraduates with opportunities to earn credit for participating in the research and creative work with UW-Madison faculty and staff. The program has been designed to include partnerships between students and mentors, seminars on research-relevant issues, and practice in research/artistic presentations.Learn more >
Life Sciences Communication 212: Introduction to Scientific Communication
Writing effective correspondence, progress reports, proposals, newsletter and trade magazine articles, abstracts and summaries, instructions, and literature reviews.
Life Sciences Communication 560: Introduction to Scientific Communication
Writing scientific reports such as journal articles, theses, abstracts for a technical audience.
Funding for undergraduate research performed at UW-Madison is available from individual colleges, the Provost’s office and also from governmental and private organizations. Research support can be obtained for work during academic year or just for the summer. Many opportunities exist at U.S. universities to participate in summer undergraduate research programs. At UW-Madison, CALS and L&S have programs that may provide funding for sophomores. Repeated demonstration of success in obtaining undergraduate research funding along with in-depth research experience possibly leading to authorship on a paper or papers will enhance your competitiveness for entry into the best graduate or medical schools followed by a research career.
This section provides information on funding during Fall or Spring semester or over the entire year. Information on summer research funding is found in a separate section.
The Provost’s office oversees
The Provost’s office oversees a number of undergraduate research award programs that fund introductory research experiences for freshmen and sophomores and more advanced experiences for students who have had previous research experience.Learn more >
CALS Cargill/Benevenga award
CALS Cargill/Benevenga award provides on a competitive basis a research stipend and supply funds to any undergraduate majoring in Animal Sciences or Nutritional Sciences or any undergraduate working in the research program of faculty in these departments.Learn more >
College of Letters and Sciences Honors Program
College of Letters and Sciences Honors Program offers or administers six grants, scholarships and awards for introductory and senior thesis research, study-abroad and research-related travel, and community and university service projects.Learn more >
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP)
UGSP offers competitive scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. The program offers scholarship support, paid research training at NIH during the summer, and paid employment and training at NIH after graduation.Learn more >
National Science Foundation: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
REU supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any areas funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. There are two mechanisms for support of student research: First, REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. Second, REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects.Learn more >
Professional Research Societies
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) ASBMB Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship
This scholarship offers financial support to students who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and who enhance the diversity of science. Students whose social, educational or economic background adds to the diversity of the biomedical workforce or who show a commitment to increasing educational access for underrepresented students are eligible. The Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship provides up to $2,000 toward tuition costs for one academic year.Learn more >
ASBMB Undergraduate Research Award
This award provides financial support for reagents and supplies for the student’s research project. The applicant must be a member of the ASBMB student chapter at UW-Madison and must conduct research in the lab of an ASBMB member. Applications are due in the March or April of each year. Awardees must file a short final abstract to ASBMB on completion of the project.Learn more >
United Negro College Fund – Merck Undergraduate Science Research Fellowship
Awards from this fund may provide up to $30,000, including up to $25,000 toward tuition, room and board, and billable fees. Each undergraduate fellow will be paired with a mentor and be eligible for an internship at a Merck facility or other research institution. The recipient’s department may apply for a grant of up to $10,000.Learn more >
Summer Program Research Support
Many universities and non-academic units (research societies, government, industry) host summer research programs lasting 8 to 10 weeks. Participants obtain hands-on experience in research and some programs provide professional development opportunities on applying to graduate school, presenting research results in a poster or oral presentation and additional activities.
Directories of Undergraduate Summer Research Programs
UW-Madison Summer Research Opportunity Programs (SROP)
UW-Madison Summer Research Opportunity Programs (SROP) are found in several disciplinary areas. While these summer programs can fund UW-Madison students, most of the participating students are from other universities. These programs provide unique opportunities for undergraduates to work closely with faculty mentors and graduate students in their major discipline. Students accepted into research programs are matched with faculty whose expertise and interests match the student’s research interest. Summer research opportunities outside UW-Madison are described in the “Outside UW-Madison” section.Learn more >
The ASBMB maintains a site listing summer research programs in all 50 states.Learn more >
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society maintains a website listing research opportunities for both summer and non-summer time frames.Learn more >
National Center for Genome Research (NCGR)
The NCGR supports undergraduate summer research in genomics through programs at Caltech, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences, Stanford, Washington University and others.Learn more >
National Institutes of Health – Summer Clinical Research Program
The program offers summer internships to students who are U.S citizens or permanent residents and are currently enrolled in high school, college, graduate programs, and health professional schools including nursing and medicine. Each year, approximately 50 students are selected to participate in the Clinical Center's internship experience. At the Clinical Center — the nation's largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research — students work with mentors who are researchers and health professionals; present their research results in the NIH Research Poster Day; and attend weekly lectures presented by NIH investigators.Learn more >
National Institutes of Health – Summer Program
This program provides an opportunity to spend a summer working at NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. Internships cover a minimum of eight weeks, with students generally arriving in May or June. The NIH Institutes and the Office of Intramural Training & Education sponsor a wide range of summer activities including lectures featuring distinguished NIH investigators, career/professional development workshops, and Summer Poster Day.Learn more >
Professional Research Societies
American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship
The ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship is aimed at students who wish to pursue graduate careers (PhD or MD/PhD) in microbiology. Students will have the opportunity to conduct full-time research at their home institutions with an ASM member and present research results at ASM Microbe the following year. Students will conduct research for a minimum of 10 weeks beginning in the summer with ASM faculty mentors and mentors from students’ home institutions. Students submit a research abstract for presentation at the ASM Microbe Meeting the following year.Learn more >
American Physiology Society (APS)
APS offers five programs that allow undergraduate students to participate in summer research. Recipients of a fellowship spend an average of 10 weeks in the laboratory of an established APS-member scientist. Fellows participate in hands-on research and learn to develop a hypothesis, design and troubleshoot experiments, collect and analyze data, and write and present results. Some of the programs are geared toward providing research experiences to a wide range of students—including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and students with disabilities—to work with researchers in a specific area of physiological research. Each fellow receives a stipend plus additional funds for travel to present research at a scientific meeting. Research hosts receive funds for student lab supplies.Learn more >
Summer interns have the opportunity to work in functions that include engineering, science, finance, information technology and marketing. The internships offer flexible 10-12 week assignments during the summer, adjusted to your academic calendar and the needs of individual businesses. Candidates must be eligible to work in the U.S. without Abbott sponsorship, be enrolled in a major in a related discipline, and possess a willingness to travel and be placed anywhere in the United States.Learn more >
Amgen Scholars Program
Made possible through a commitment from the Amgen Foundation, Amgen Scholars allows undergraduates from across the globe to participate in cutting-edge research opportunities at world-class institutions. Seventeen leading institutions across the U.S., Europe and Japan currently host the summer program. Undergraduate participants benefit from doing research with top faculty, being part of a cohort-based experience of seminars and networking events, and taking part in a symposium in their respective region (U.S., Europe or Japan) where they meet peers, learn about biotechnology, and hear from leading scientists.Learn more >
Danforth Plant Science Center
The internship program is held eleven weeks each summer and exposes students to a rich research environment. The program gives students experience with all aspects of modern scientific research, from design to experimentation to reporting. Faculty mentors and staff provide insight into the personal qualities that make a good researcher, the process and training involved in becoming a scientist, and the broader impact of scientific discovery. The program is made possible through generous support from the National Science Foundation, The Hearst Foundations and Bank of America.Learn more >
Gilead is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines. Gilead offers paid scientific internships in medicinal chemistry, formulation, biology and metabolism and protein chemistry at its Foster City, CA campus. Students should be in their junior year with a minimum B average and have completed at least one lab course.Learn more >
Novartis Scientific Summer Scholars Program
The program provides research training opportunities for top-tier students to gain research experience, enhance preparation in applying to top graduate and professional programs, and receive exposure to NIBR's approaches to patient-driven research. Scholars work on their own project with the guidance of a NIBR scientist. NIBR's research covers many disease, science, and technology areas that allow it to closely match student interests with the best lab. Students who have completed their sophomore year but not have yet graduated from a master's degree program are eligible to apply.Learn more >
These programs provide support for individuals who have an undergraduate degree but seek additional research training before going on to graduate or medical school.
Food and Drug Administration Postgraduate Research Program
This allows recent graduates (postdoctoral, predoctoral, and postbaccalaurate) an opportunity to initiate and conduct independent or collaborative research that complements projects at the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). Appointments are for one year and may be extended in one-year increments up to three years.Learn more >
NIH Postbac IRTA Program
The program provides recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional (medical/dental/pharmacy) school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at NIH. Participants work side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. The NIH consists of the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1,200 laboratories/research projects located on the main campus in Bethesda, MD and the surrounding area.Additoonal sites are in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Hamilton, MT; Framingham, MA; and Detroit, MI.Learn more >
UW-Madison McNair Scholars Program
UW–Madison Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program provides a bridge between undergraduate and graduate education. The program supports eligible undergraduates in acquiring the knowledge, skills and capacities necessary to successfully navigate the rigors of Ph.D. studies through immersion in research and a variety of scholarly activities. Each year, more than 30 students are selected.Learn more >