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Getting Started Guide for Undergraduate BIO Research

How Do I Get Started?

Stony Brook's Introductory Biology courses provide foundations in 3 major areas of biology: Neurobiology & Physiology, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, and Ecology & Evolution.  Faculty sponsors are assigned research course sections in BIO 486, BIO 487, or BIO 489 based on their main area of interest.

Once you have identified your area of interest,  investigate faculty that are conducting research in that area. 

The Faculty Research Advisors link will take you to lists of research advisors who have taken undergraduate Biology students in the past.  Please note that students can conduct research in labs not included on the lists if approved first by Undergraduate Biology.  

How Do I Contact a Researcher?

When you are ready, contact the faculty members on your list via e-mail one at a time. Introduce yourself in the e-mail; describe the courses you have taken, your grades, your GPA, your major, why and when you’re interested in working with them and request an appointment. If you haven’t received a response to your e-mail in about 2 weeks, follow up with the faculty member and ask if he/she has had the opportunity to consider your request and whether you can set up a meeting. Don’t get discouraged if you are turned down. That’s why you have a list with several names on it. Bring your unofficial transcript and details of any special courses you have taken and any special activities or jobs of interest to your meeting with a potential faculty sponsor.

Will I Need a Project?

Once a faculty sponsor is interested in having you work in his/her lab, you’ll discuss and design a research project with your sponsor.

Will I Get BIO Major Credit?

You can apply up to 4 credits of biology independent research from BIO 486, BIO 487, or BIO 489 towards your BIO major, or 2 credits towards your minor.  Two semesters of independent biology research, for a total of at least 4 credits, can replace one upper division laboratory course for the major.

How Do I Register?

Fill out the registration form here and email to to register for Bio 486, 487 or 489.  You must write a short description about your chosen research project, and your research advisor must sign the form for approval. The registration form must approved by beginning of the second week of classes.