Senior Project

Senior Project in Biology, Society, & Environment

All BSE students must complete a senior project and are encouraged to identify a senior project supervisor with expertise in a field related to their intellectual interests and/or career goals. In the past, BSE students have completed many different kinds of senior projects, including laboratory, field, survey, and historical research in natural sciences, medicine, social sciences, and humanities disciplines—as well as comparative and synthetic projects. We encourage you to begin planning for your senior project during your junior year.

Getting Started

  • Attend a senior project planning workshop (SPPW) during your sophomore or junior year. You must attend a session at least one semester prior to when you plan to begin your senior project.
    • SPPWs are held during weeks 3-4 and finals week each semester. The advisor will solicit student availability via the BSE listserv, and SPPW times will be posted on the advising calendar at least one week in advance of a workshop date.
    • To register for a SPPW, email Dr. Jeanette Simmonds at least two days prior to the workshop date.
      • Set the subject of the email to "Attend SPPW."
      • Include your name, student ID, proposed graduation semester (e.g., spring 2018), and the date & time of the workshop you plan to attend.
  • Begin generating ideas for your senior project based on courses or subjects you enjoy.
  • Once you have attended a SPPW, schedule an appointment with Jeanette to go over any remaining questions or concerns you might have.

Course Registration

There are multiple registration options that satisfy the credit/course requirement for the senior project. Prior to registration, meet with the BSE advisor to verify that your proposed project and registration plan meet the senior project requirements. You will also need the approval of your senior project supervisor.

Registration options include:

  • Directed research in CLA
  • Directed research in CBS
  • Directed research outside CLA/CBS (e.g., CFANS, School of Public Health, Medical School, Dental School, etc.)
  • Senior seminars, such as the “Senior Project in Medical History” course (HMED 4960)
  • Coordinated directed research

Senior Project Planning Resources



Directed Research Planning:

  • The College of Biological Sciences (CBS) website offers a roadmap to research, which is a useful tool for planning your senior project, regardless of whether it is research-based or not.
  • Complete laboratory research options in:
    • CBS
    • CSE
    • Medical School
    • School of Public Health, Institute for the Environment, and more
  • Complete ethnographic, historical, and other kinds of quantitative and qualitative research in the humanities and social sciences with CLA faculty.
    • Learn more about CLA directed research, directed studies, and independent study information.
  • Complete interdisciplinary projects with one or more U of M faculty and specialists. Experts@Minnesota helps students identify faculty with similar interests.
  • Want to get paid for doing research and/or build your resume? Check out the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
  • First generation students with financial need who plan to attend graduate school may apply for McNair Scholars program.

Senior Thesis

  • Honors Students should consult their honors adviser for additional honors thesis requirements.