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Research in Environmental Studies 

What research labs and programs are associated with Environmental Studies?

What do you gain from doing research?

The process of scientific inquiry is very basic to an education in science, which is why the Department involves students in research in introductory biology as well as upper-level laboratory courses. If you enjoyed those experiences, you may want to try doing more intense work in a research laboratory.

Laboratory experience is almost a necessity if you are planning to attend graduate school in an environment-related field or find a job in an academic or outdoor, corporate, industrial setting.

When should I NOT try to do research?

A student who is in research for the wrong reason is wasting his or her own time, the professor's and often a graduate student's time as well. The student could gain practical experience in other venues, such as getting internships or taking more courses. Also, that student prevents someone interested from gaining that position.

These are some very common WRONG reasons:

  • I am not really interested but it will look good on my resume.
  • I need a letter of recommendation from a faculty member who knows me. (If you are not really interested in the work, he/she will know you in a negative way!)
  • My parents insist -or- My older sister did it.
  • I will need it for graduate school -- I don't really want to go to grad school but it helps me postpone a career decision for a while.

How do I get into a professor's research program?

Students who work in professors' research programs are enrolled in ENVI 397. 

Application Process for New Students Who Are Interested in Research

  1. Study the faculty research programs. Talk with faculty. Read through the latest publications to see if you can imagine yourself doing similar work.
  2. Meet with a faculty member and talk with them about doing research, independent study, and/or a senior thesis.

A professor said, Yes! Here is how to get registered.

When it is time to register for the intended semester, go to the Environmental Studies Program Advisor office and set up registration for an independent study. 

  1. The number of credit-hours is variable, but most sign up for 4 credits.
  2. Be sure to save at least 12 hours a week (and even more!) for working on your research. Make sure that those hours are in big blocks of time, with a good portion during the normal work day.
  3. It is up to you and the professor to agree on the grading option.
  4. Usually independent studies and thesis classes are done as a graded option (A-F). 
  5. You must get this project set up the semester before you start.
  6. Before intersession or summer break, ask for reading material so you will be prepared when you return.

I liked doing research and wish to continue next semester. Is that possible?

Yes, if your faculty advisor agrees. You would then register in ENVI 497 by talking to the Environmental Studies Advisor.

My research work has been very successful. I would like to graduate with the Schumann Award. What is involved and how should I get started?

The Environmental Studies Program grants the special Schumann Award to students who have done well in research and have written an honors thesis that has been accepted by a thesis committee. This award includes funds to cover research. Applications are due in mid-September of your senior year. For more details, see Awards and Funding.

Can I get credit for doing research at another institution?

You arrange this as an internship before hand. For more details, see Internships.

Can I start the research experience earlier?

Students can start earlier through the Freshman Research Immersion Program

Field Studies and Research

Students have numerous opportunities to work in the field. Some courses have field work as part of lab or discussion sections.  In other courses, students do field work as part of research projects.There are also opportunities for field work in other countries through such courses as Tropical Ecology (Biol 472) and Tropical Marine Biology (Biol 471), in cooperation with the Biology Department. Research opportunities also are available in conjunction with the faculty members in the program, in such areas as watershed hydrology, urban forestry, forest ecology and land use on the BU campus, and a host of other areas.  Students should discuss research interests and opportunities with appropriate faculty.

Nature Preserve

The Binghamton University Nature Preserve and surrounding natural areas provide a large natural laboratory used not only for classes, but also for research projects (especially in ecology and environmental geology).  Potential research projects involving natural areas on campus must be coordinated through Dylan Horvath, Steward of Campus Natural Areas, as well as with a faculty sponsor.  Examples of some past research projects are described on the Nature Preserve website.

Director of Environmental Studies Program: Carl P. Lipo email

Last Updated: 1/25/18