Research Opportunities

We publish a list of projects currently available in our research labs.

Participating in research is immensely valuable, whether or not you intend to pursue graduate studies.  Undergraduate research provides

  • an opportunity to see what research is really like, rather than just reading about it in textbooks
  • work experience, giving you a better idea of what sort of work you do/ don’t like
  • a deeper understanding of a particular field of Biology
  • close contact with a faculty member.  This is particularly valuable in terms of enabling a prof to get to know you really well, which will enable them to write a really good letter of reference for you, e.g., be able to comment on your organisational abilities, ability to work independently, common sense, work ethic, etc.

There are numerous opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands-on research experience, including courses such as BISC 298, BISC497W, BISC498, BISC499, an independent study semester (ISS), and NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA).  BISC497W, BISC498, and BISC499 are each worth 3 credits, and so in terms of workload/ intensity are roughly equivalent to a normal BISC course.  An ISS is worth 15 credits and involves working with a supervisor full time for one semester, during which time you will write a research proposal, carry out independent research, write a report and present it orally to a committee – just like an MSc or PhD, but quicker.  An NSERC USRA pays you to work in a lab full time for one semester.  You can do any of these options in any semester, although the deadline for the NSERC USRA is in January, regardless of when you intend to hold the award.

Testimonials

"I am a biology major student in the open stream in my final year of classes. I was lucky to get an opportunity to do BISC 498, an undergraduate research course, in Dr. Chris Kennedy's lab after taking his BISC 313 Environmental Toxicology course. BISC 498 was by far the best course I have taken in my undergraduate degree because I got to contribute to real research with a brilliant masters student. The topic of research was the effects of pesticides from salmon aquaculture on marine invertebrate organisms. After an amazing semester of doing assays and analyzing our findings of the research, I became so invested in it I was offered another opportunity by the masters student to do a BISC 497W in my current Fall 2018 semester. My experience in undergraduate research has been amazing and has led me down a new career path. I am now wanting to pursue a Masters of Environmental Toxicology at SFU upon graduation with my Bachelor of Science. I highly recommend any biology major student to try an undergraduate research course because I am sure it will turn into a valuable experience." Stephanie Cooper, Kennedy's lab

"[BISC 498] was probably the most educational experience of my undergrad.  Courses that test your ability to memorize info or follow instructions in a lab don't really challenge me and this course was definitely challenging.  I really enjoyed the hands on experience and the semi-independent learning that went along with it!  As I said, the editing of the paper (learning about how to present research in a clear and specific manner) was very valuable to me and it's a rare experience to get such a detailed and individualized lesson.  I definitely would recommend that every undergrad either do this course or a coop term to gain this kind of experience."   Former BISC 498 student, Dr. Margo Moore's lab

Procedure to Register in Undergraduate Research Courses (BISC 298, BISC 497W, 498, 499, ISS)

  1. See the supervisor/instructor and work out the details and expectations (including the hours and dates). Give a copy (paper or email) of your transcript to the Instructor.
  2. Fill out and submit the online Application Form.
  3. Once approved, email the BISC Undergraduate Advisor for final approval (Rm. B8270) with your advising transcript attached.
  4. Students whose applications have been approved will be enrolled in the research course normally after the third week of registration period.
  5. Application deadline is the fifth day of classes.