UW-Madison is a top-tier research institution, and getting involved in independent laboratory research is a great opportunity. Doing a directed study in a lab provides unparalleled hands-on research experience and can help you maintain a strong GPA. In addition, the networking associated with undergraduate research may help you to get letters of recommendation.
Which labs can you choose from?
You can select from any of the department/programs listed below. If the lab is not listed here, you should discuss your research project with your Neurobiology advisor to determine if it will be accepted to fulfill this requirement in the major.
ANATOMY, ANESTHES, BIOCHEM, BIOLOGY, BME, BMOLCHEM, CBE, CHEM, COMP BIO, CRB, CS&D, ED PSYCH, FAM MED, GENETICS, H ONCOL, KINES, MEDICINE, MED PHYS, MED SC-V, M M & I, MOL BIOL, NEURODPT, NEUROL, NEURSURG, NTP, NUTR SCI, OBS&GYN, ONCOLOGY, OPHTHALM, PATH, PATH-BIO, PEDIAT, PHM SCI, PHYSIOL, POP HLTH, PSYCH, PSYCHIAT, RADIOL, SURGERY, ZOOLOGY (Integrative Biology).
How do I find AND contact a lab that will take undergraduate research help?
• Go to the website of any department listed above. A listing of faculty, including their research area is usually under a menu item labeled “Faculty”, “People”, or “Research”. In example is the NTP websites’ Faculty Trainers and Faculty Affiliate pages.
• Check the Wisconsin Discovery Portal to find all faculty on campus that do research. This data base is searchable by keyword, research interest, or even collaborator name.
• Check out WISCIENCE’s Undergraduate Research Peer Mentors Drop-In Hours:
• Think about joining the classes offered by WISCIENCE:
Once you have identified labs on campus that you want to reach out to, you can draft your own email message to the faculty researcher. Here are some tips for writing the email:
1. Keep it short. Be respectful, yet efficient. (1 paragraph is adequate)
2. Include relevant information (Year, Major, GPA -if you are comfortable with this).
3. IMPORTANT -Refer to the mentor’s research, and especially what you find interesting about it.
4. Related to point three, what do you hope to gain from the research (i.e., experience for med-school, grad school etc., not just to fulfill a requirement)?
5. How many hours per week are you willing to commit? (For 3 credits, you should commit 9-10 hours per week).
6. Are you willing to commit multiple semesters?
7. Attach your resume (if you have one); indicate that your resume is attached for their convenience.
What course do I enroll in for research credits?
Course numbers that fulfill the requirements of the Neurobiology major:
699 – Directed Study
681/682 – Honors Thesis (2 semesters)
691/692 – Senior Thesis (2 semesters)
How do I enroll in research credits?
If your mentor is appointed in the Department of Integrative Biology, you should complete and sign a Research Course Authorization form. Have it signed by your faculty mentor and bring it to your Neurobiology Major Advisor.
If you are working with a faculty member in a different department, you will need to get a course authorization form from that department and submit it to them to get permission to enroll.
After your completed form is received, permission and instructions on how to enroll in research credits will be sent to you. Let us know if you have any questions about this process.
A reminder: Only Directed Study courses taken after – and not concurrent with – the completion of Introductory Biology are accepted in the major.