Student Resources - Undergraduate Research Opportunities

MCLA recognizes the value that research opportunities provide for students in exploring emerging trends in their discipline as well as in expanding their appreciation of the broader applications of their major course of study. The following links provide information about research opportunities provided through The National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). There are numerous REU sites across the country, each bringing groups of undergraduate students together to work with faculty on research programs at a host institution. Students gain valuable research experience, earn stipends, and benefit from working with a group of students and lead faculty to advance a research project. In addition to the Massachusetts opportunities shown below, you can also research sites by discipline or location and apply directly to sites of interest.


Harvard University: Forest Program in Forest Ecology

Harvard University
1350 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

Primary: Sheila Aaron Ellison, 978.724.3302,

Expires: May 21, 2015 (estimated)

11 weeks for 9 students during the summers 2010-2014. Applicants are selected based on an essay, letters of recommendation, and expressed interest in specific projects. There is no minimum GPA or prerequisite course requirement. (1) acquisition and enhancement of scientific research skills; (2) satisfaction with the REU educational experience; and (3) post-program plans for education and scientific career development. The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Forest Ecology enhances the ability of students to undertake interdisciplinary research and work with teams of researchers to collaborate on cutting edge projects. Teams of students and mentors work to integrate empirical data with analytical and statistical models to investigate the impact of climatic changes on forest ecosystem.


University of Massachusetts: Research Experiences in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology

University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Dorchester, MA 02125

Primary: Rachel C. Skvirsky, 617.287.6617,

: April 30, 2014 (estimated)

Training to 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2011-2013. REU students receive intensive research experiences in integrative and evolutionary biology, conducting independent projects with guidance from faculty mentors. Participants gain an understanding of how research is done and a deeper appreciation of the science, preparing them for advanced study in biosciences and eventual research careers. Students apply molecular, genetic, population-level, and informatics approaches to problems in cell biology, ecology, and evolution. The program serves a racially and culturally diverse student population.


Brandeis University: Cell and Molecular Visualization

Brandeis University
415 South St Mailstop 116
Waltham, MA 02454

Primary: Susan T. Lovett, 781.736.2497,

: January 21, 2014 (estimated)

Selected based on academic record and potential for research in biology; will conduct full-time research guided by their mentors; will participate in weekly lunch seminars including faculty research presentations, ethics discussions, and professional development activities such as panel discussions with students and postdoctoral fellows from the Boston area on careers in biotechnology and research. Students have an opportunity to interact with scientists who have diverse interests and who are at different stages in their careers. 

Stipends of $5,000 plus housing costs and meal allowances are awarded to each participant.


University of Massachusetts Amherst: A Summer Computing Research Experience for Undergrads

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Research Administration Building
Amherst, MA 01003

Primary: Dr. W. Richards Adrion, 413.545.2475,

: January 31, 2014 (estimated)

Each spring, 9 students are invited for a 10-week summer program. They are assigned in pairs or triples to a range of research projects within a number of disciplines - health, government, biosciences, transportation, society, education, etc. Students participate in a number of technical activities including workshops, seminars, field trips, and social activities that have proven successful in creating a close and sustained relationship among the participants in each year's cohort.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Integrated Bioengineering Research, Education, and Outreach

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Rd
Worcester, MA 01609

Primary: Kristen L. Billiar, 508.831.5384,

: February 28, 2015 (estimated)

To foster a strong sense of community among the students, the program  begins with a "Boot Camp" and all research is conducted in a new multidisciplinary research center. Weekly workshops including creativity, communication, mentoring, and ethics help students gain professional skills and personal confidence critical for success in innovative research. A unique feature of this REU site program is that the students are trained in mentoring for outreach to middle school girls in a week-long Bioengineering Innovation Program. The program's evaluation plan focuses on desired outcomes, has multiple formative and summative elements, and uses valid reliable instruments.