Research Opportunities

Our faculty maintain active research programs and are committed to providing opportunities for students to become involved in undergraduate research in Biology and Marine Biology. As an undergraduate institution without graduate programs in the sciences, all of our science facilities and equipment are available for use for student research.

RWU Students can become involved in undergraduate research through a number of avenues:

  • Many faculty maintain externally funded research programs, and this funding usually includes stipends to support undergraduate students conducting research under the grants, both during the school year and during the summer.  Check with individual faculty members about opportunities in their lab

  • Student may also undertake a Senior Thesis (see below)

  • Students can apply for research funds through the CEED Student Research Grants (see below.) These funds are awarded twice each year on a competitive basis for viable student research efforts. These grants are used to purchase research supplies

  • The Office of the Provost awards funds on a yearly basis to support undergraduate research. These funds can be used to support student travel to scientific meetings to present the results of their projects

  • Students with an interest in marine and/or biomedical sciences are eligible to apply for Rhode Island Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs) . These competitive fellowships provide students in the state of Rhode Island with a stipend to conduct research during the summer:

  • Students can apply for external research opportunities and funding sources, such as the NSF Research Opportunities for Undergraduates program (NSF-REU)

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis serves as a capstone experience for outstanding students in the major. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students engage in original research on a topic of their choice. The research may involve laboratory experiments, field work, or computer simulations. Undertaking a thesis provides experience in designing and conducting experiments, critically analyzing data, reviewing published scientific literature, and communicating scientific information.

Submitting a thesis proposal

2021-2022 AY Proposal Deadlines:

  • Friday, March 25, 2022

To submit a senior thesis proposal, complete the form provided below by the above listed deadline.  As part of your submission you will need need to include a full research proposal, an itemized budget and required permit list, as well as a current CV for the student investigator.

CEED Student Research Grants

Each year the science faculty at RWU award research grants to undergraduate students to carry out independent research. Working with a faculty mentor, students write a research proposal, including a budget, which is then evaluated by a committee on a competitive basis. Funds are normally awarded twice a year (Fall and Spring semesters) for use in the following semester (Spring awards can be accessed over the Summer as well). Students participating in funded research efforts are expected to submit a progress report and a final report detailing the results of their investigation. As a condition of receiving these grants, students are expected to present the results of their research, either as an internal or external presentation. Some of these research projects may also result in student publications.

Interested in applying for a CEED grant?

2021-2022 AY Proposal Deadlines:

  • Fall semester: Friday, November 11, 2022
  • Spring semester: Friday, March 24, 2023

If you are interested in conducting independent research, you must begin by carefully choosing a research topic in consultation with a faculty member in the departments of Biology, Marine Biology & Environmental Science or Chemistry.  Once you have a topic, you should conduct a thorough Literature Survey of the topic to become familiar with the current work being conducted in the same area.  After you have conducted the literature survey, you should narrow your focus to a well-defined question that you would like to answer with your research. Working with your research mentor, you should then submit a proposal which details the question you plan to address and how you are going to go about answering the question.

To apply for funding, complete the form provided below by the above listed deadline - be sure to use the correct form for the given semester.  As part of your submission you will need need to include a full research proposal, an itemized budget and required permit list, as well as a current CV for the student investigator.  See the CEED Research Proposal Guidelines for details.