Biology Learning Opportunities

As a Biology major at MSUM, you’ll gain valuable real-world experience outside of the classroom by participating and working closely with faculty on research projects in their respective area of expertise and utilizing our state-of-the-art faculties. You will develop professional skills and gain advanced knowledge in a variety of exciting ways.

The Biosciences Seminar Series is a bi-weekly speaker series focusing on a wide array of topics, from sharing research progress to preparing for graduate school or internships. They are free and open to the public.

Research experience provides you the opportunity to not just learn science, but to be a scientist – from collecting data, to presenting research results at regional and national meetings to publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Why research?

  • Research experience provides a strong, positive impact on applications for professional schools (medical school, physical therapy school, etc.), applications for advanced research at graduate programs, scholarships and general marketability for science jobs. Faculty mentors are able to write informed and enthusiastic letters of recommendation if you have conducted research in their lab.
  • You can attend regional and national conferences as a participant or poster presenter – it’s the best way to network with future colleagues and graduate school mentors.

Current research opportunities

We offer opportunities to study biology in the field through unique educational trips at home and abroad. Current opportunities:

  • Conservation of Tropical Biodiversity (BIOL 335) is a 12-day trip to Costa Rica to study strategies for balancing conservation of biological diversity with politico-economic forces.
  • Biological diversity, bio-physical and sociocultural aspects of the Pacific Northwest (BIOL 308) ecosystem includes a field trip to the temperate rainforest of Washington state.

FREE (Friday Research Exploration and Education) is a student research series that features students explaining their proposed, ongoing or completed research.

While internships aren’t a requirement of MSUM's Biology degrees, they’re a great way to gain hands-on experience in your specific area of interest. You can earn up to 12 credits for your internship. Internship opportunities include local employers in health care, resource management and research.

The Biosciences Department offers you the opportunity to be a Learning Assistant for courses you have already taken. It’s a competitive selection process and a privilege that not only deepens your topic knowledge but provides valuable teaching experience.

The Prairie Restoration Project gives you the opportunity to engage in faculty-mentored research with MSUM faculty as well as research professors from other institutions. Current research projects include diversity of microbial community, effect of habitat restorations to native flora, diversity of small mammals, seed viability and the role of soil nutrients in prairie restoration, large birds of prey use of the region, archeological study of post-glacial use of the site by humans, and more.

Pre-Health Professionals Club provides students with opportunities to expand their knowledge about the healthcare professions.

The MSUM Regional Science Center’s 300-acre Buffalo River Site is located 15 miles from campus and is part of a 5,000-acre tallgrass prairie that includes the Buffalo River with riparian woods and several wetlands. The Center also includes a museum and an observatory used by the Physics and Astronomy Department. The site is used as a tallgrass prairie field station that is used for research studies, laboratory field trips for several courses, and public education. Learn more about the Regional Science Center.

If you want to live in an educational environment surrounded by others with the same passion for biosciences, this learning community is for you. The Science & Health Learning Community is for declared Biology, Chemistry, Chemistry Education, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Exercise Science, Life Science Education or Nursing majors. You’ll get to participate in hands-on labs with fellow students while preparing for a science or health-related career.

The Biosciences Department has dedicated labs for student teaching that are associated with courses such as human anatomy, physiology, molecular biology, genetics, botany, wildlife ecology, microbiology, cell culture and more. In addition, faculty members have their own labs where they conduct research and mentor students. Areas of current research:

  • Genes responsible for photosynthesis in corn
  • Soil microbiome and landscape genetics
  • Yeast fermentation, endocrine disruptors
  • Population biology
  • Embryonic development of mammalian brains using the mouse model
  • Emotional impact of cadaver dissection, endocrine disruptors
  • Science of pedagogy, prairie nutrient network ecology
  • Behavioral ecology of fish
  • Immunobiology, cell culture and fungal pathogens of mammal lungs using the mouse model
  • Geospatial modeling, bird ecology, epidemiology
  • Aquaponics, plant cell wall

You will have the opportunity to learn and research in a variety of sophisticated labs that boast essential tools and faculty expertise that will teach you how to be a scientist. Our facilities include:

  • Extensive aquatic research laboratory facility
  • Repositories of reference materials in a regional herbarium
  • Modern greenhouse and growth chambers
  • State-of-the-art research labs for anatomy, physiology, ecology, genetics, neurobiology, microbiology, biochemstiry and biotechnology

Check out the Oceanarium

Tri-Beta is an honorary and professional society for students in the biological sciences that is dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending the boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.

Undergraduate Students in Science Research connects students with faculty who are doing research. As part of learning to apply the scientific method to problems in biology and other sciences, you can attend Biological Research Wednesday Seminars (BReWS), a weekly gathering of the science research community where you can share your work, discuss your research, or prepare for a presentation or conference. USSR also sponsors social events and underwrites travel costs for student research presentations at conferences.

The local student chapter of the Wildlife Society aims to encourage student research in the wildlife profession and cultivate interest in wildlife.