Department of Environmental Sciences

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate ResearchFor all students majoring in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geology, and Biology (Ecology and Organismal Biology concentration), there are opportunities for participating in undergraduate research - as early as your first-year! Undergraduate research is a great way to establish a close learning relationship with a faculty mentor in a specific area of ecology, geology, or environmental science.

Undergraduate research often leads to publication of a paper in a scientific journal, and is excellent preparation for graduate school. Undergraduate research is open to all students who wish to participate. First- and second-year majors are particularly encouraged to explore these opportunities as early as possible as they provide an important complement to formal course work in the major, and can lead to a DES Departmental Honors certificate.

Many faculty members in the Department of Environmental Sciences are willing to support projects in a variety of fields. Studies range from collecting tropical insects, studying the impacts of exotic plants in Toledo, taking ice cores to study climate change, and tracing the movement of contaminants through the environment.

Please see the Undergrad Research Topics/Mentors page for a complete list of those faculty willing to host undergraduate researchers in their lab and the types of projects you could work on in the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Funding Opportunities

There are several funding opportunities available for undergraduate researchers. Many students participating in research can actually receive scholarships to pay for their projects. Please visit the UToledo Office of Undergraduate Research site for more general information on funding opportunities and deadlines for summer and academic-year funding. First-year students are especially encouraged to apply for summer research funding.

There are no costs to the students who participate in undergraduate research; on the contrary, there are sometimes funds available to compensate them for their efforts. However, be aware that some of the funding possibilities available to support research costs such as supplies, travel, student stipends, etc. have specific deadlines for applying, so it is important that you talk to faculty members about projects early. Some faculty members may have research grants for supporting undergraduate research projects. This must be arranged on an individual basis with your potential mentor.

Programs through the OUR-UToledo Program:

How to Start Your Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate ResearchFirst, read over the faculty Undergrad Research Topics/Mentors page to see what types of projects are available.

Pick 1-3 faculty members whose research projects or interests match closely with your interests.

Feel free to contact those faculty members directly to set up a meeting or contact the DES Undergraduate Research Coordinator to help you find a potential mentor.

Discuss with your potential mentor what they expect from you in terms of time commitments and also what you will gain from the research project (e.g. payment, course credit, a publication, great experience).

Last Updated: 5/27/20