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Erin Breland works in the Schweizer Laboratory

 A student in the microbiology degree program patches colonies in one of the MIP labs on the Foothills Campus. This student one of many undergraduates gaining valuable research experience in MIP department laboratories.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Director of Undergraduate Research
Office: Microbiology B222

The department operates a number of multi-million dollar research programs. Students may participate in undergraduate research, gaining laboratory experience working alongside world-renowned researchers in our departmental research laboratories. 

Undergraduate Microbiology students have a variety of research opportunities throughout their time at CSU including research for credit and paid research positions. On-campus student employment opportunities are posted through​ RAMweb​ under the Student Employment tab.  

Research for Credit (Unpaid Positions)

MIP150 Introduction to Research Methods

Spring | Limit 20 students

This course is intended for students who would like to learn how to conduct an independent research project.

Instructors: Dr. Eric​a Suc​hmanDr. Claudia Gentry-Weeks, Dr. Medora Huseby 

3 credit hours/6 lab hours

Meeting days/times: Please check the class schedule on RAMw​eb​​

MIP Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MIP-URF) Program

We are looking to recruit undergraduate students majoring in microbiology interested in a research experience to join a lab for at least three semesters. Ten students will be selected for this program and paired with MIP mentors. If you are interested in becoming a MIP-URF fellow or taking a MIP-URF fellow into your lab, please email Dr. Alan Schenkel

  • Freshman are encouraged to enroll in MIP150, as it is a prerequisite for applying to become a MIP-URF.

  • ​MIP Undergraduate Research Fellows (MIP-URFs) will enroll in at least one credit of MIP298 - Introductory Research OR MIP498 - Research Capstone in the spring semester following notification of receiving an URF award and continue to do so until their last semester when they will enroll in MIP498 - Research Capstone, which will serve as your capstone course. If an URF receives a work study award, the requirement to enroll in MIP298 will be waived; URFs must still enroll in MIP498 the last semester of their senior year to fulfill their capstone requirement. 

  • Faculty mentors will be provided $500 per academic semester (up to $1,000 a year) to support student research projects. Students may also apply for a $250 travel stipend to travel to a meeting. 

  • MIP-URFs will be encouraged to apply for Merit Work-Study and for external and internal scholarships.

  • MIP-URFs will participate in the "Annual Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium" held every spring. They are expected to present each year until they graduate. 

  • If you are already in a lab, please let us know! This is not required, but we will know we don't need to match you with a mentor. 

  • If you already have work-study, it may be better to keep that position for financial reasons.

To be eligible for the MIP-URF program, applicants must have taken or currently be enrolled in MIP150 (earning at least an 80%), have a minimum 2.5 GPA and must be either freshman, sophomore or junior class standing. 

Communications will be sent to Microbiology students each year when URF application process is open. Application materials typically include the following:

  1. Unofficial copy of your college transcripts, if you have one. (If you are a first semester freshman, this is not required; however you should provide your current percentage grade in MIP150.)

  2. A Curriculum Vitae - CSU CV Writing Guide

  3. A brief essay describing your academic/research interests and future career goals - Why do you want to be a scientist?

For questions, contact Dr. Alan Schenkel.

Not an MIP-URF but want to get lab experience?

MIP298 Introductory Research

Fall, Spring, Summer

This course requires the student to first identify a faculty mentor. Please also contact Dr. Alan Schenkel for additional information for enrolling in MIP 298. 

1-3 credits (3 hours per week per credit during a regular semester).

  • PRIOR to registration: you must make arrangements to work with a faculty mentor, complete a departmental course request form with your mentor, and successfully complete the department's online lab safety quiz.

  • Grading is either Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or traditional letter grade; this is determined by the faculty mentor. 

  • The faculty mentor determines the basis for grading and communicates this to the student (e.g., end-of-semester paper, lab meeting presentation, lab notebook, etc.)

  • This does NOT fulfill one of the MIP laboratory course requirements.

MIP498 Research

Fall, Spring, Summer

This course requires the student to first identify a faculty mentorPlease also contact Dr. Alan Schenkel​ for additional information for enrolling in MIP 498. 

1-3 credits (3 hours per week per credit during the regular semester).

  • Often taken to meet the capstone requirement (minimum 2 credits).

  • Additional credits may be used as microbiology electives but this does NOT fulfill one of the MIP laboratory course requirements.

  • PRIOR to registration: You must make arrangements to work with a faculty mentor and successfully complete the department's online lab safety quiz.

  • Grading is traditional letter grade.

  • The student is required to submit an end-of-semester paper to the department for the grade to be entered.

Paid Positions

Work-Study Job

Fall, Spring

A work-study award is part of a student's financial aid package.  The student then identifies a faculty sponsor and applies to his/her lab as a work-study student employee. For more information regarding needs-based work-study, visit the Student Employment Services website.


Merit Work-Study Job

Fall, Spring

This requires the student to first identify a faculty sponsor; the student and sponsor then submit a time-sensitive, on-line application that becomes available at the beginning of February. If the application is successful, an award is given for the following academic year. For more information regarding merit work-study, visit the Student Employment Services website​.

Student Hourly Positions

This is a traditional position paid on an hourly basis out of the principal investigator's project budget. The availability of this type of position is based on faculty need and budget availability. On-campus student hourly positions are posted through RAMweb under the Student Employment tab.  

Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC)

Throughout the year, Colorado State University recognizes and honors the achievements of students in the areas of research and creativity. Students are invited to participate in a variety of events that will provide them an opportunity to showcase what they have learned through their research and creative activities.

Each year, events culminate with the CURC Showcase in April. The showcase features outstanding performers and award winners from all disciplines. Following the Showcase, an awards ceremony recognizes all participants and honored awards winners from the various events.

Microbiology undergraduate participation at CURC is among the highest at the University.​​​​​

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