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Undergraduate Research

The Environmental Studies program encourages undergraduate students to get involved with research both on and off campus. Directed and independent research is seen as an important educational complement to classroom instruction. Opportunities are available for research with experienced faculty on a variety of exciting topics. The Environmental Studies program helps connect students with faculty members and organizations that offer a range of immersive opportunities for field and research experience.

Research Opportunities

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Living Earth Collaborative

The Living Earth Collaborative coordinates student research opportunities at Washington University, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the St. Louis Zoo, and other St. Louis institutions that allow students to study and conserve biodiversity, regionally and around the world.

Explore research opportunities through the Living Earth Collaborative
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Tyson Research Center

Tyson Research Center offers a robust summer field research program for undergraduate students. First-time fellows typically have interest in environmental research but may not yet have the experience needed to conduct independent research projects. Advanced or returning undergraduate fellows often design and execute their own field-based research under the guidance of a mentor.

Explore research opportunities through Tyson Research Center

Funding Opportunities

Beyond our partnerships with Tyson Research Center and the Living Earth Collaborative, Environmental Studies students can propose and develop their own research projects and secure funding from the program. Do you have a desire to do research in a particular area of study? Does field work appeal to your outside yearning? Do you have a particular faculty member that you would like to collaborate with on their research? If so, consider applying for an Environmental Studies Grant. Please note that these grants are restricted to Environmental Studies students.

Grant Types

Student Research Funding: This grant is open to students who wish to pursue research that is of interest to them.
Faculty/Student Collaboration: This grant is available to students who wish to collaborate with an Environmental Studies faculty member on their research.

Required Material

Request for either of the above grants must include a one-page (single-spaced) description of the research, plus a budget. Budget information should include items such as: sample analysis, travel to meetings and/or conferences, equipment, and supplies.

Faculty/student collaboration grants are prepared by a faculty member participating in the environmental studies program, in collaboration with the relevant student(s). The faculty member involved must sign the proposal, and the proposal must provide a description of the student’s involvement and the distribution of effort.

Available Funding Amount

Student Research Funding = up to $500
Faculty/Student Collaboration = up to $2,500


Proposals must be received by December 15 for spring research, April 15 for summer research and August 15 for fall research. Send proposals via email to Environmental Studies. Please contact the Environmental Studies program for more information.

Previously Funded Undergraduate Research Topics

  • Hanusia Higgins - Advisor: Dr. Mangan (Biology) "The Enemy of an Enemy, is a Friend"
  • Emily Dewald-Wang - Advisor: Dr. Myers (Biology) "Plant chemical defenses, density dependence, and biodiversity in temperate forests"
  • Addison Green - Advisor: Dr. Lowry (Political Science) “Exploring bicycle culture as it relates to European cities
  • Joseph Stromberg - Advisor: Dr. Evans (Philosophy) “A Study of Land Tenure and Livelihoods on the Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota”
  • Ted Erker – Advisor: Dr. Knight (Biology) “Is the relationship between phylogenetic novelty and invasiveness dependent on spatial scal
  • Katherine Seidler – Advisor: Dr. Knight (Biology) “Understanding Invasiveness: How does habitat heterogeneity influence dispersal kernels of wind-dispersed species”
  • Kristyna Solawetz – Advisor: Dr. Giammar (Environmental Engineering) “Arsenic Mitigation and the Role of Traditional Knowledge in Bangladesh”
  • Arthur J. Singletary and Kelley E. Greenman – Advisor: Dr. Stone (Anthropology) “Pesticides in Indian Groundwater”
  • Brittany Teller – Advisor: Dr. Knight (Biology) “Do Invasive Species Change the Biomass of Dependent Trophic Levels in Communities?”
  • Aaron David – Advisor: Dr. Knight (Biology) “Environmental Conditions and Inbreeding Depression in Mimulus ringens”
  • Anna Truszczynski – Advisor: Dr. Knight (Biology) “Which mechanisms promote success in phylogenetically novel invasive species?”