Research options for undergraduates

McGill’s Faculty of Science has launched an innovative program which gives undergraduates the opportunity to participate in hands-on research, if that suits their interests and field of study. The Office for Undergraduate Research in Science (OURS) matches students with research projects and opportunities from all across the Faculty of Science.

Find out how McGill is promoting inquiry-based learning on the OURS website.

Opportunities in the lab

Female student with microscope 

We bring the world, in all of its complexity, into our laboratories. In Science at McGill, pioneering researchers will talk about the results of their research in your classes and welcome you into their laboratories where you will also have an opportunity to participate in the creation of science. Here is a sampling of intriguing research projects in the Faculty of Science:

  • Researchers in the field of BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION address some of the most pressing scientific and social issues of our time. Faculty and students benefit from rich research resources at the venerable Redpath Museum on the main campus, along with the Lyman Entomological Museum and the University Herbarium on the Macdonald campus. Professors David Green, Andrew Hendry, and Anthony Ricciardi from the Redpath Museum and Graham Bell, Lauren Chapman, Andrew Gonzalez and Catherine Potvin from the Department of Biology are among the faculty members who have a special interest in this area. Many of our professors supervise students in the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award program.
  • The MOBILE ROBOTICS AND SHAPE RECOGNITION GROUP led by Professor Greg Dudek at the School of Computer Science and the Centre for Intelligent Machines is a lab that deals with issues of machine perception and planning: that is, the creation of computer systems that can see, understand, and explore their world. Their varied activities range from the development of systems to automatically explore art galleries looking for interesting exhibits, to robots that can recognize familiar places or objects. In recent years, students from this lab have won scientific excellence awards and competed in (and often won) international robotics competitions. One way for students to gain hands-on experience in robotics is to pursue an upper-level project course.
  • A leader in NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY, McGill is building on our strong tradition of interdisciplinary research excellence. At the scale of nanometers, materials change their properties; instead of acting as everyday solids and liquids, unique quantum mechanical properties and decoherent fluctuations dominate behaviour. Professors Peter Grütter of Physics and Bruce Lennox of Chemistry use scanning probe microscopes to observe and manipulate atoms one by one, thereby characterizing and literally fabricating materials at the nanometer level. Other researchers are studying the viability of quantum computation through nanoscale fabrication, spintronics for nanoscale devices, and the self-assembly of quantum dots. Undergraduate projects have included assessing friction at the nanoscale, building an atomic force microscope, developing a sample kit to teach force microscopy, growing carbon nanotubes, and observing microspheres condense.