Introductory courses

An excellent way for new students to learn about the wide range of research going on at Washington University is to enroll during their first semester in Biology 181, “Freshman Seminar in Biology,” a one-unit course where various faculty members discuss the current work in their laboratories.

The seminar course,“Introduction to Problem-Based Learning in Biology” (Bio 112), provides training in use of research literature to solve problems (topics change from year to year).


Participating in research in an area of interest can be the most engaging part of undergraduate study.

Students in the life sciences who wish to participate in research during the academic year may register for:

Normally research students register for three units of credit (the equivalent of one course) committing themselves to 9-12 hours of lab work, plus preparation, every week.


There are several ways that Washington University students can get help in finding a research lab. Many gain familiarity with a particular lab as a federal college work-study participant.

In addition, individual research interests of the 300+ faculty members in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences are available online through the Biology Department.

Finally, faculty advisers willing to help students identify appropriate faculty mentors are available within each research area. Contact the Biology Student Affairs Office for further advice.

For more information on undergraduate training, visit the Biology Department’s website.