Female student conducting research from a canoe

Student Research Opportunities

In addition to opportunities to work alongside faculty, NMU biology students routinely work on research projects of their own design and share the results at academic conferences or in professional publications. Our students research diverse topics, including:

  • Native fish ecology
  • Invasive species in Lake Superior
  • Cancer biology
  • Migratory patterns of loons
  • Gut microbiomes of carnivores
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Host/parasite evolution and biogeography

A great way to get involved as a student is to join one of the many biology-related student groups and meet others who share your passions.



Take Your Research Anywhere

NMU biology students conduct research and internships around the world, including in Zambia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Brazil, and elsewhere.

Nationally recognized research

NMU Biology graduate student Sierra Gillman (pictured above) was a recent recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in recognition of her work on the gut biota of black bears.

Faculty Mentors

Most student research starts with finding a faculty mentor. Explore our directory of faculty to determine who might be the right fit for your interests. 

Trees in front of a blue sky
Carly Johnson

"I decided to come to NMU because of the numerous research opportunities students have at the undergraduate level. I got to start conduction research my freshman year as a Freshman Fellow with Dr. Bammert of the Clinical Lab Sciences (CLS) department. Since, I’ve done research with Dr. Marquardt of the Chemistry department, the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center (UMBTC), and Dr. Belton of the Biology department. The professors at NMU love working with students and I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve had here."

Carly Johnson

Human Biology Minor

Student Research Funding

Student research can play an important role in your education, but often you will require funding to help you achieve your research goals. Your research mentor will be able to provide guidance on how to seek funding, which will often require you to submit a proposal to potential funding sources. Writing a research proposal, with input from your mentor, not only can benefit you by generating funding, it also will help you to crystalize your own understanding of your project. 

There are several potential sources of funding you could pursue; some that are dedicated to NMU students and others that are competitive on the regional or national level.  Some of these are listed below.  Work with your mentor to identify the best options for your particular project.  Remember, each funding source will have specific application requirements that you must adhere to - read the requirements early to make sure that you fulfill them all before the application deadline!



Click here for a summary of NMU funding sources and deadlines


Donor-Funded Scholarships

Various donor-funded scholarships with specific emphasis on biological disciplines are available through the NMU Foundation.

  • Merry Memorial Fund (graduate students eligible)
  • William L. Robinson Scholarship Fund (graduate students preferred; senior undergraduates also eligible)
  • Frank Verley Scholarship (undergraduate students eligible)

Spooner Grant

  • $500 award
  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students to support scholarship
  • Application date of September 15
  • More information

Excellence in Education Awards

  • $1500 award
  • Available only to NMU graduate students to support summer scholarship
  • Application deadline in early February
  • More information 

College of Arts and Sciences Student Travel Fund



Biology Department Development Fund

  • Maximum award of $1000
  • Available to support research, conference attendance, and other scholarly activities by Biology students and faculty
  • Application dates of October 15, March 15, and June 15
  • Guidelines can be found here

The Scheidemantel Undergraduate Research Fund

  • Maximum award of $500
  • Available to support faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects in Biology
  • Application dates of October 1, February 15, and May 1
  • Guidelines can be found here 



Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research

  • Awards from $500 to $1,000 for non-members; for members, up to $5,000 for graduate students and up to $2,000 for undergraduate students
  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students to support research in diverse fields
  • Application dates of March 15 (spring cycle) and October 1 (fall cycle)
  • Application guidelines

Note that while membership in Sigma Xi is not a requirement for applying for funding from the Grants-in-Aid of Research program, approximately 75% of funds are restricted for use by dues paying student members of Sigma Xi or students whose project advisor is a dues paying member of Sigma Xi.

American Society of Mammalogists Grant-in-Aid of Research (and other awards)


Faculty Research Funding

NMU provides competitive awards for support of scholarship.  These opportunities include the following:

  • Faculty Grants
  • Reassigned Time Awards
  • Prime Awards
  • Peter White Scholar Awards

More information about these opportunities, including deadlines and application guidelines, can be found here.