link to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute link to William and Mary
HHMI » Undergraduate Opportunities » Freshman Research 

Freshmen Research Program

       The HHMI Freshmen Research Program in Biology is designed to provide opportunities for students to become engaged in research early in their college careers—as freshmen.  Freshmen who have the desire and commitment to become involved in a mentored research project are invited to apply to participate in the program.  More specifically, this program matches students with a faculty mentor in whose laboratory the student will conduct research during the spring semester of the freshman year—and hopefully continuing throughout the following three years at W&M.  In general, students will be expected to devote a minimum of 7-10 hours per week to their research projects, although this will be somewhat flexible and depend upon your specific project and mentor. However, this program does require a strong commitment to research.  Participating students will be eligible to receive one credit hour of “Freshmen Research” (BIOL 201, Freshmen Research).  Every attempt will be made to match you with a faculty mentor with similar research interests.  In order to participate, you should have an overall GPA of ~3.4 or higher at the end of fall semester as well as a very strong interest in some aspect of research in the life sciences, broadly construed.  If you are even remotely considering transferring to another college or university, you are not eligible to apply for this program since it is specifically for continuing W&M students.  This opportunity is for Biology and Neuroscience majors, for students who plan to double major (e.g. Biology and Math – a great combination), or for students working in some aspect of the life sciences.  

Applications will be accepted for the  program  between November 1st and November 20th.  If you would like to participate, please write an essay limited to approximately one page (single-spaced) in which you describe precisely why you would like to become engaged in a research project.  As part of your response, please indicate (a) the courses you are taking this semester along with your anticipated grades, (b) any AP/IB credit in science courses;  (c) your area of research interest (for example, molecular or cell biology, ecology, evolution, physiology, neurobiology), (d) your career plans, (e) any previous research experience at W&M or elsewhere, and (f) why you wish to participate in this program.  Please email your essay to (with Freshmen Research Program in the subject line) no later than November 20th.   Please write your essay in the text of your email (rather than an attachment).  You will be informed whether you have been accepted into the program in early December.  Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Margaret Saha if you have any questions (


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