Student Research at Goshen

The Department encourages all students to get involved in research projects to develop their scientific skills, test their interests, and work to addressing answers to the world’s complex problems. There are a variety of ways to get involved in research.


Most of the Biology courses have independent research projects as laboratory components.  This is a great way to get started.


During your Junior year you will take a 2-credit course in which you will design, propose, and begin implementing a collaborative team-based research project.  This project should match your interests: it could be a lab-based investigation, a field research project, or a sustainability initiative.  By your senior year, you will work with your team to publicly present your findings during the 1-credit Senior Seminar.


Each year faculty supervise some students in research projects during the school year.  Typically students commit to working 5-7 hours per week on a project.  Many of these activities can help prepare students for their Junior Research projects.

a.    Fall Faculty Research presentations – Each fall faculty will present their projects to all Biology students in one of the BSD Coffee Hours.  During this time you will learn which professors have openings in their labs.

b.    Applying – Email the professor directly if you are interested in applying to work with them.  Professors are free to select students based on student experience, performance in classes, and/or needs in their lab.

c.    Credit – The main goal for research is to involve students in learning new skills.  However, you may elect to receive credit for your research where 40 hours of work = 1 credit of BIOL 400 Biology Research.

i.    Register for BIOL 400 Biology Research credit like you would sign up for a class.
iii.  Log your hours in your research lab book.

d.    Financial Rewards – After students work for 40 hours on a project with a professor, they are eligible to receive pay for their work at $7.50 per hour.  Payment is warranted because students with more experience are expected to teach the newer students the ins and outs of the research protocols.  With more responsibility, comes more reward!  (Students may not receive both pay and credit for their work.)


Each summer 15-20 students are selected to work with an individual professor on their research project for 8 weeks (for most of June and July).

a.    Faculty apply to host a project – Each November faculty send applications to the Maple Scholars Committee to have a project included in the summer’s listing.
b.    Projects announced – Early in the spring semester, projects are announced and advertised on the web.  Students have until early February to apply for the projects in which they are interested.
c.    Logistics – Students are paid a $2500.00 stipend, in addition to the provision of room and board on campus!


Each summer two Goshen students are selected to work with Dr. Mark Butler for 4-6 weeks at the college’s J.N. Roth Marine Biology station in the Florida Keys.

a.    Application – Each February students will be invited to apply to the program. Applications are available here and due in March.
b.    Logistics – Students are paid a $1000.00 stipend, in addition to free housing at the station.  Students are responsible for their own transportation and food while in FL.


Each Mayterm 2-3 Goshen Biology students are selected to join the Mayterm marine biology course as Research Assistants.  Research Assistants develop an independent research project, which they implement during the 3-week course.

a.    Application – During spring registration of the year before you would like to attend, contact Ryan Sensenig to express your interest.

b.    Selection – Applicants must have taken BIOL 304. If more students express interest than can be invited to participate the following criteria will be used:

i.    Performance in BIOL 304

ii.   Demonstrated ability in field research

iii.   Expressed interest in marine biology

c.    Logistics – Students should NOT sign up for BIOL 304, but instead should sign up for BIOL 400 for 3 credits.  Students will be expected to independently design a research project during the spring semester before mayterm.


During the summer of 2013 and 2014, BIOL 375 Conservation Biology & Research Methods in Savannas, will be taught in Laikipia, Kenya at Mpala Research Centre.  This 3-week course is open to all students and will demonstrate the key links between ecological theories and conservation.

After the completion of the class, 3-4 students will be selected to remain in Kenya for 3 weeks of research, assisting in field work. See the Kenya 2011 blog, Kenya 2013 blog, and/or the most recent 2014 blog to get a better idea of the kinds of work you may be doing.

The next Kenya field course/research experience will be in the summer of 2016.

a.    Application – Students who have enrolled in the class will be eligible to apply.
b.    Selection – Applications will be provided in the fall of 2015. Students  will be selected based on course performance, recommendations, statements of research interest, and interest in ecological research.
c.    Logistics – Students living expenses will be covered.