Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The MBB department offers a breadth of opportunities for students to perform original research, both at SFU and in external academic and industrial settings, obtaining practical experience in modern techniques in diverse research areas. These opportunities offer hands-on training and experience in foundational and leading edge techniques, allowing students to apply the theory they have learned in the classroom to address pressing scientific questions and think creatively, helping to prepare them for the workforce and postgraduate education.

Research opportunity openings can fill up quickly; students should apply to the instructor well in advance. For Directed Research Courses students should contact faculty members the semester prior to the one they wish to enrol in. For NSERC and VPR USRAs, students should contact potential supervisors in the Fall, as applications are due early in the Spring semester

  1. Directed Research Courses
  2. NSERC and VPR Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)
  3. Co-operative Education (Co-op)
  4. Volunteering
  5. Work-Study Program

1. Directed Research Courses

MBB offers several Directed Research courses that provide senior MBB students with the opportunity to perform original research under the supervision of an MBB faculty member and receive course credit. For these courses, students immerse themselves in a research area where they are exposed to cutting edge investigations in molecular biology and biochemistry. They read relevant literature and develop hypotheses that are tested in the laboratory. They report their results in the form of a thesis and oral presentations. The Directed Research courses reinforce laboratory, research and presentation skills, teach students new techniques, and provide detailed knowledge of a research area. They allow students to hone their communication skills and exercise critical thinking and creativity.

Students in the MBB major program have two Directed Research course options:

MBB 491-5: Directed Research I
MBB 498-3: Directed Research

Students in the MBB honours degree program complete 15-units of Directed Research courses, either full-time in a single semester (Option A, MBB 481/482/483),

MBB 481-5: Directed Research - Honours Thesis
MBB 482-5: Directed Research - Honours Research Performance  
MBB 483-5: Directed Research - Honours Thesis Defense

or on a part-time basis over two semesters (Option B, MBB 491/492):

MBB 491-5: Directed Research I
MBB 492-10: Directed Research II

MBB faculty with Directed Research opportunities  


2. NSERC and VPR Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)

These competitive and prestigious awards provide funding for students to perform full-time research for one semester in an MBB lab. Students can apply for these awards in January of each year. Information can be found in Scholarships and Funding.


3. Co-operative Education (Co-op)

Students alternate between study and paid work semesters where they may be employed at SFU, or in academic, R&D or industrial settings locally, nationally or even internationally, for up to 4 semesters of their undergraduate tenure. During their Co-op semesters students receive hands-on training in diverse MBB fields, expanding their knowledge base, skillset, career contacts and employment prospects. See here for information on the MBB Co-op program.


4. Volunteering  

Several labs in MBB accept undergraduate volunteers to help with lab duties and research projects. These positions provide MBB students with valuable experience in a research lab, exposing them to world class research and teaching them new skills. See here for volunteering opportunities.


5.  Work-Study Program

Eligible students perform part-time paid work in a variety of capacities in MBB research labs.