Open to MSU freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the Complex Biological Systems Summer Undergraduate Research Program (CBS-SURP) is a structured, 10-week, summer research program that introduces undergraduates to the rigors and challenges of scientific research in a mentor-based environment. Students work full-time on an independent research project, and participate in a weekly seminar, extracurricular activities, and a full-day trip to Yellowstone National Park. This interdisciplinary program has supported students from all fields of scientific interest including cell biology, neuroscience, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, immunology, biofilm engineering, mathematics, and psychology.
- Early June to early August
- Stipend for 10-week full-time research position
- Housing in MSU residence Hall (if desired)
- Possible travel reimbursement
Undergraduate students who are enrolled in good standing at Montana State University may apply. Students must be U.S. citizens, or have a work-eligible visa. We will not accept a student whose visa status is dependent on their admission to this program. In general this means you must already be a student in the US.
Selecting a Mentor: Applicants are required to select three possible mentors for consideration. Mentors must be current MSU research faculty and can be from any science field relevant to biomedical research. Potential mentors can be found on our Faculty Mentors page, as well as on the MSU Academics site in most of the science disciplines. We recommend that you access these lists PRIOR TO beginning your application.
Letter of Interest: Applicants are required to submit a letter of interest along with their application. The letter is your chance to talk about who you are, what interests you, why this opportunity is right for you (and for MSU), your short and long-term interests, etc. We are not asking for a research proposal. In addition, you will be asked to respond to a more informal question.
Transcripts: Applications must include a full set of transcripts, including transferred courses, but we do not require an official copy from the registrar’s office. Using My Info, you can save a pdf of your transcript and upload that with your application. When we choose finalists we may require an official transcript at that time.
Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required of each applicant, and at least one must be from an MSU faculty member who can speak to your ability to participate in both the research and extracurricular aspects of our program. Letters must be signed by the author, and should be submitted by the author electronically to email@example.com or in a sealed envelope to CBS-SURP, Hughes Undergraduate Biology, 1 Lewis Hall.
For more information contact Martha Sellers at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 406.994.7568.
Students generally begin working in their faculty mentor’s laboratory on the first day of the program and are expected to work fulltime in the research lab; therefore, outside jobs and/or enrollment in courses is not permitted. Once accepted into the program, students are encouraged to contact their mentor and begin background reading and preparation for their research experience before they arrive on campus.
Weekly CBS-SURP seminars allow the entire group to come together to hear about and discuss cutting-edge research, communicating science, graduate and medical school readiness, career opportunities, and other related topics.
CBS-SURP culminates in a poster session with other undergraduate researchers on campus; more than 50 students participated in 2012. Students also present a brief update on their work to their peers near the end of the 10-week program. CBS participants are encouraged to present their work at national conferences and are eligible to receive travel support for this purpose. Past participants have presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Society for Neuroscience, the Biophysics Society’s annual meeting, and the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference.
Some structured recreational opportunities are part of the program including a guided tour to Yellowstone National Park and gatherings with participants from other summer research programs. HUB will provide additional recreation information that you may be interested in pursuing.