Research and Other Opportunities

Participation in undergraduate research adds depth to the breath of the science curriculum and promotes active involvement in learning.

The Wellesley College Science Center has several opportunities for students to participate in research or other STEM-related activities. Two of the programs listed below are designed for first-year students (as noted by *). These descriptions provide a broad overview of each program. Look for the notice to apply for these programs throughout the academic year. For more information, please visit: or contact Dr. Ayana McCoy, Assistant Director of the Science Center, at

Students feel empowered by their experiences in the laboratory and by the analytical and problem-solving skills they acquire during their research collaboration with faculty members. In turn, faculty research is enhanced by the enthusiasm, ideas, creativity and results of the students. Many of our alumnae from the sciences cite undergraduate research with a faculty member as the single most influential factor in their choice of career.

Research Opportunities

Wintersession Research Week* This program is an intensive, immersive experience that runs during Winter session. It is designed to help introductory level students explore research, develop confidence in basic laboratory skills, and encourage scientific exploration, and will be particularly beneficial to students with little research experience prior to Wellesley. Participants will conduct hands-on research and will be  mentored by graduate students from Harvard Medical School. This program is a joint project, sponsored by the Wellesley College Science Center, the Office of the Provost and Dean of the College, and Harvard Medical School.

First-Year Student Research Apprentice Program*  The program is offered through the Science Center. The purpose of the program is to enable first-year students who have little laboratory experience to become apprentices in Science Center faculty labs and build some basic skills and confidence in their ability to participate in research. In addition, Science Center faculty will mentor students in completing applications for the Summer Research and SERP. Students are not required to have prior laboratory experience but are required to have an interest in STEM and to participate in the lab for 3-4 hours each week once accepted into the program. This program runs during the Spring semester.For more information contact Dr. Ayana McCoy.

Sophomore Early Research Program (SERP) This research program is offered through the Science Center. This program provides sophomores the opportunity to carry out collaborative research projects with natural science and social science faculty mentors during the academic year. Because hands-on research is so important in doing natural and social science as well as in career planning, these research opportunities are considered as work-study positions; therefore, students must be work-study eligible. In addition, students must be from one or more of the following backgrounds:

  • First-generation college student
  • Low income/high need
  • Underrepresented racial/ethnic groups 

You can find more information and how to apply on the SERP page.

Independent Research For Credit Wellesley offers the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on an independent research project (BISC 250, 250H, 350, 350H, 355, 365, 360, 370). For more information go to our Independent Research page.

Work Study Some faculty research labs offer paid positions for work study students. Please ask your Biological Sciences advisor for more information. 

Science Center Summer Programs Every year, the Science Center offers a paid summer research program for students interested in spending their summer doing scientific research at Wellesley with our faculty members. The summer research is open to all Wellesley students with an interest in scientific research. A science major is not required. Preference is given to students who will be continuing their studies at Wellesley in the following academic year (i.e. rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors). Professors provide opportunities for students to conduct research in their laboratories. Past projects have included bacterial biochemistry and physiology, behavioral neurobiology, plant biology, aquatic ecology, evolutionary genetics, and much more. Students receive stipends from funds such as the Beckman Scholars Program, the Hughes Summer Research Grants, and the Mulhern Summer Research Awards.

Biochemistry Bootcamp Research Week (where first-years learn the rigors of research)

Faculty organizer: Julie Roden

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholarship Program 

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (also known as the McNair Scholars Program) is a federally funded TRIO Program that supports students from low-income, first generation, and historically underrepresented groups in successfully preparing for and entering doctoral study. Benefits of the program include:

  • Summer research funding
  • Workshops on graduate admissions and funding
  • Personal and academic counseling
  • Network with faculty mentors
  • Attend national and regional conferences
  • Present research at conferences
  • GRE training opportunities
  • Community of like-minded peers

Student Travel Funding for Conference Presentations Currently enrolled students traveling to professional conferences to present their research as first or second authors can apply for travel funds from the Provost's Office that are managed by the Science Center. There will be three application deadlines each year for student travel funds from the Science Center/Provost's Office to ensure all students have an opportunity to apply for funding. The deadlines are October 1, February 1 and June 1 (or next business day if due date falls on a weekend or holiday).

Clare Boothe Luce Scholars Program The purpose of this program is to help students from groups traditionally underrepresented in computational and/or physical sciences to engage in research that prepares them for success in graduate school. Students receive funding to support their participation in summer research during the summer prior to their junior year, as well as funding to support their continued research during their junior year. In addition to their research mentor, students are supported by a designated faculty mentor. This program is generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Student Internships The purpose of these on-campus, academic-year internships across the Science Center are to provide students development of new skills and understanding about science, technology, and teaching. Examples of internship projects have included the following: serving as department/program student advisors for developing more welcoming and inclusive environments; beta-testing new classroom laboratory experiments; or creating and implementing science activities for K-12 outreach programs. Preference is given to work-study eligible students. Unlike the other student programs, students apply to these internship positions through Workday.

Student Travel and Research Opportunities

Science Center Summer Research Awards

More Research Opportunities