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Internships: Biology

Summer Internships in Biology

Michigan State University  (Go Spartans!)
This is an NSF-REU program in plant genomics. The stipend is $5250 plus free housing, meals and travel costs. Information and application at
The program is open to US citizens and permanent residents entering the sophomore, junior and senior years of college. Application deadline is February 18, 2015, but apply early.

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes region.
This is an NSF-REU program in the very hot area of interactions of microbes with eukaryotic hosts. The emphasis is on interactions of microbes with plants, but the students will gain experience in areas such as molecular biology, bioinformatics, evolution and genetics. The stipend is $5000 plus free housing, meals and travel costs. The program is open to US citizens and permanent residents entering the sophomore, junior and senior years of college. Information and application at  Application deadline is early, January 7, 2015. Act promptly!

Notre Dame Univeristy has announced its 2015 summer research program in ecology and environmental science at its Environmental Research Center field station in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Students receive 3 credits from ND, with free tuition, housing, meals and travel expenses, plus a $3500 stipend. What a deal!   Applications and more information are at
Information is also posted on the Summer research board on first floor DeVries hall.

Several Calvin students have previously been accepted to this program and had excellent experiences. This program fulfills the requirement for research in the Biology major.

The application deadline is November 7, 2014

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates
NSF-REU programs
The NSF - Research Experience for Undergraduates website is This site lists about 150 programs in all areas of biology, about 3 in ocean sciences and nearly 70 in chemistry (many of which are in biochemistry). These fellowships pay a stipend of about $4000 for 10 weeks, and provide free lodging and food, plus a travel allowance. The website may not be completely up to date for 2015, so check it often.
Calvin students have been very successful in earning NSF-REUs, with about 45 students going to these off campus summer programs in the past 10 years. Apply to several, and you will have a good chance of an award. Most of these programs require completion of the sophomore year, but some are open to rising sophomores. Join an illustrious group of Calvin NSF-REU alumni. Let's set a goal of at least 6 biology students participating in an NSF-REU during the summer of 2015.
Just a few of the locations where our students have done are REUs include Harvard, Cornell, Universities of Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and  several Big 10 universities.
The REU application deadlines are in January and early February, so take time during Christmas vacation to work on applications, especially if you will be off campus during interim. It's impossible to write a good application and get letters of recommendation the week before the deadline.

Be sure to check the NSF website for up to date information about numerous, excellent opportunities.

Student Conservation Association >> Several Calvin students have participated in SCA internships which place interns in national parks, wildlife refuges etc. These internships may be research or work experiences and range from field research to construction/maintenance or interpretive work. SCA internships are open to students at all educational levels.

National Science Foundation (NSF) >>
The NSF is an independent government agency responsible for promoting scientific and engineering research experiences for undergrads. Also check out the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates >> site which helps attract a diversified pool of talented students into research careers.

Internships in Scientific Research or Medicine for Undergraduate Students>> The compilation PDF features research internships in science or medicine offered nationwide for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students. The compilation is organized by academic level and discipline and the programs are alphabetized according to the name of the sponsoring institution. For more information about a specific internship, please refer to the program’s website or contact the respective administrator.

Amgen Scholars Program >> provides hundreds of undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in a hands-on summer research experience at some of the world's leading institutions. This is a prestigious summer research program held at various locations including Cal Tech, UCLA, U of Washington, UCSD, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge University (England), and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, among others. The research projects are primarily in the areas of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, microbiology, neuroscience, genetics and related disciplines. Includes a generous stipend and all expenses. Three Calvin students have been accepted to this program in previous years.

University of Notre Dame Field Environmental Biology program >> This ecology research program is located at the Notre Dame field station in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You will receive academic credit from ND that can be transferred to Calvin. The program lasts for 10 weeks It includes a stipend plus free tuition, housing and a travel allowance. Several Calvin students have participated in the program and had very good experiences, with the added advantage for you that the people at ND know Calvin and the good reputation of our students. Research programs include animal behavior and forest, lake or stream ecology. You will receive 3 credits from Notre Dame that can be transferred to Calvin, free tuition, housing and travel plus a $3500 stipend! Open to current sophomores and juniors. Applications are due on November 1.  Information at  See also the flyer on the 2nd floor DH summer research bulletin board.

Michigan State University Summer Undergraduate program in Plant Genomics >> Don't rule this out if you are pre-med or not currently a plant person. You will learn lots of molecular biology and genetics which is valuable for anyone. Several Calvin students have participated in this program very successfully and have gone on to greater things in grad school and med school. As a result MSU wants more Calvin people for this program.

Undergraduate Research in Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany at the Missouri Botanical Garden >> The MBG program focuses on the areas of plant systematics, conservation biology, and ethnobotany. Potential projects include taxonomic description of new species and revisionary studies in Brassicaceae, Araceae, and Melastomataceae, DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, DNA barcoding, pollen analysis, pollination biology of rare species, seed morphology and anatomy of Lythraceae and Passifloraceae, conservation biology of threatened species, ecology of invasive species, herbarium study of historically important collections, Native American ethnobotany, and revisionary studies of economically important plants. REU students have access to a herbarium of 6.2 million specimens, an excellent botanical library, rich garden collections, a 2,400 acre natural area, and a laboratory with facilities for plant anatomy, microscopy, digital imaging, SEM, and DNA analysis.

University of Michigan Biological Station NSF-REU: Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Global Environment >> Located in northern Michigan on Douglas Lake. Includes a stipend, room, meals, travel. A great place to spend a summer. Our own Prof. Curt Blankespoor teaches at UMBS in the summer.

Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salsbury Cove, Maine. NSF-REU >> Near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Absolutely stunning place to spend a summer and do big science. Dr. John Ubels worked there for 5 summers. Several Calvin students have participated in this program in PHYSIOLOGY, MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, GENETICS AND TOXICOLOGY USING MARINE ORGANISMS AS MODELS SYSTEMS. Work with top scientists from all over the world.

Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station >> in Geneva, New York offers a Summer Research Scholars Program where undergraduate students can participate in exciting research projects within one of four disciplines including Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Entomology, Food Science and Horticulture. The student interns will have the opportunity to work with faculty, their graduate students, postdocs and staff on research projects that can be laboratory or field-based.

Department of Homeland Security >> Summer Internships for Undergraduate Students 10 week research experience; $5,000 stipend plus travel expenses. Areas of research: Engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biological/life sciences, environmental science, emergency and incident management, and social sciences.

Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology >> An opportunity for students to participate in 11 weeks of mentored, paid, independent research focusing on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems, including global climate change, hurricanes, forest harvest, changing wildlife dynamics, and invasive species.

Institute for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison >> Junior and senior undergraduate students interested in research careers in the biological sciences are invited to participate in the Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP). This hands-on research program is designed primarily to give students from other colleges and universities a chance to experience the richness of research at UW–Madison.

Hope College - Environmental Impacts on Biological Systems: from Molecules to Ecosystems, NSF-REU program >>. The department offers undergraduate research opportunities for up to 25 students. Many students in the department co-author papers with faculty members for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The new and expanded A. Paul Schaap Science Center gives you access to state-of-the-art academic and laboratory facilities. Hope maintains a 55-acre nature preserve on nearby Lake Michigan and a biology greenhouse in the A. Paul Schaap Science Center.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Undergraduate Research >>
CSHL’s Undergraduate Research Program (URP) provides one of the few places where young people are instructed in the techniques of modern biology while becoming integrated members of a vibrant scientific community. Each year, approximately 25 students from around the world are accepted to the fully subsidized, 10-week summer program to work with senior Laboratory staff members on independent research projects in: Cancer biology, Neuroscience, Plant biology, Cellular and molecular biology, Genetics, and Computational biology.




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BiologyWhen to apply

The time to begin applying for summer off-campus research opportunities begins in Novenber.

Applications Deadlines

Most applications are due between Feb. 1 and Mar. 31. A few are due as early as Nov. 2 and Jan. 10.

Earning credit

You can earn credit, either elective or in fulfilment of the research requirements in the BS in biology major, for a summer internship. Professor John Ubels, Internship Director, will work with you to formalize the requirements for earning credit from Calvin College once you have been accepted to a lab or a company.

What you need to do

  • apply to the programs as they are announced
  • search the web for programs at places where you might like to work
  • contact people whom you know that work in research labs or companies
  • apply to many programs to increase your chances.

What are your chances?

Our internship program is highly successful with up to15 students working off-campus each summer, at prestigious universities and institutions.

Where do Calvin students get internships?

We commonly have students working at Michigan State, Purdue, University of Michigan (2 spots reserved for Calvin students in physiology), Northwestern, Minnesota, Harvard, Notre Dame, UCLA, U of Virginia, Johns Hopkins, NIH, Van Andel Institute and many more.

Get more info

Check out the Internships FAQ.>>

Contact Calvin's internship coordinator, Professor John Ubels or biology administrative assistant, Pat Buist.


Go to Calvin's Career Development site to find many more internship postings and possibilities.